Netivat Sofrut: diary of a Soferet

Adventures of a female sofer learning to heal the world by doing Holy Work...writing a Sefer Torah

נחזיר את השכינה למקומה בצייון ובתבל כלה

"Let us restore the Divine In-Dwelling to Her Place in Zion & infuse Her spirit throughout the whole inhabited world."

So wherever we are, let us bring the Peace of G@d's Presence.

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Location: Vancouver/London, British Columbia/UK, Canada

SCRIBAL EVANGELIST As the only living certified Soferet (סופרת - female Jewish ritual scribe) & the first woman to practice sofrut (creation of sacred Hebrew texts) in over 200 years, I feel an obligation to blog about my experiences of The Work. I am also currently researching the foundation of a lost tradtion of women practicing this holy craft. For more on the services I provide, please see; Sofrut Nation. I am now available to engage with students, male or female, wishing to enter into the preliminary stage of learning sofrut. You are welcome to join me on this path. "Tzedeq, tzedeq tir'dof - Justice, justice you shall pursue." Devarim/Deuteronomy 16:20.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Tamuz 2

Soferet's Psychedelic Sefer Torah
"The Light of Torah" Copyright A. Barclay

In response to the flaming I have received over my wearing tzitzit, I'm posting a general idea I have about the "equal but different" treatment of the genders within traditional Judaism.

I can't speak for all women, obviously, but I speak for myself & many other Orthodox feminists when I say that women don't want to COMPETE with the men, we just want to feel welcome in our synagogues & in our religion.

Women are integral members of the Jewish community. Without women & our children there would BE no community - so we must feel welcome. Otherwise, if the women don't feel welcome, that feeling will be sensed by the children & this will negatively affect the survival of the community, G@d forbid. Look at how many people we've already lost.

Daughters should have a sense of joy growing up Jewish!

Just because Jews do this or that, that doesn't make it Jewish or Judaism - we are cautioned against adopting the practices of others in the way we worship G@d - in fact, it's a mitzvah. So it is the responsibility of our rabbis & other community leaders to separate cultural traditional practices adopted from the dominant cultures we have lived under from what we understand the Torah's message to women is.

Rabbis, are you writing books giving legal rulings based on the conditions you wish to create? Your intentions may be right, you may be attempting to prevent us from accidentally sinning, but the result of your actions is wrong. You are excluding your mothers, your sisters, your partners, the mothers of your children - we are the larger part of the community.

That which deprives Jewish women of the ability to choose our place within Judaism will either drive us away or underground or serve to suffocate the beautifully sincere expression of cleaving to The One which we yearn for. & sometimes, but not always, that expression of seeking holy intimacy with G@d will take the form of performing mitzvot which we have been freed from by our Sages. Those wishing to uncover & do Ha-Shem's will for them should be allowed to do so unfettered. In fact, they should be applauded.

If each of us focused on ourselves & whether we were on our Path, we wouldn't spend so much time criticizing or attempting to control others. Torah is about light, folks.

That's all.

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Blogger Regina Clare Jane said...

"Those wishing to uncover & do Ha-Shem's will for them should be allowed to do so unfettered. In fact, they should be applauded."
I totally agree, Avielah... why are some people so threatened by this? We should all be free to love G-d from the depths of our hearts no matter what form that love takes and whose traditional toes it may step on...
What is so hard about that?

1:47 PM  
Anonymous Manna Eater said...

I'm sorry to hear that you were flamed for performing a mitzva. May you be zocha in future to be flamed only by the fire of Torah which was given in fire and is compared to fire.

2:34 PM  
Blogger Soferet said...

I have to admit I hesitated before writing this comment after reading your brakhah for me. It is a heavy & awe-filled thing to accept. Thank you, Manna Eater.

Regina, I agree with you in principle. There are things we have been commanded not to do, whether in service of G@d or not, whether we feel it comes from the depths of our hearts or not. So the form is important, but my question is how narrow must it be? & what is the motivation of those who have the authority to decide for others?

I appreciate very much that Jewish women are traditionally permitted but not obligated in most positive mitzvot, as this allows us to be flexible in how we connect with G@d while raising children. So when we choose not to have children, or are not blessed with the children we desire, we should be allowed to pursue these mitzvot.

As for feeling threatened, I dunno...maybe some male voices would like to speak to that?

3:17 PM  
Anonymous mishtaneh said...

אמן ואמן

In this, as in all too many things, I cannot help but be horrified at how G-d's "holiest" people — whether claiming to be Jewish or Muslim or Christian — act as if their G-d commands hate, or selfishness, or other unholy behavior.

May HaKadosh Barukh Hu strengthen those who wish to cleave to Him in truth, and block those who would use Him as an excuse to pursue selfishness about themselves or whatever small group they consider sufficiently "like them" to be treated as full members of His community.

("Threatened"? I confess to not understanding the mindset of such people enough to be able to hazard a guess at what they feel. I see someone who, like most of us, feel distant from HaShem and seek ways to become closer to Him.)

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Rachel said...

What a beautiful photograph!

Daughters should have a sense of joy growing up Jewish!

Yes yes yes yes yes and a thousand times yes.

6:36 PM  
Blogger Soferet said...

Glad you like the pic, Rachel :)
It's a snap I took of a Sefer Torah I'm repairing - the left side of Ha'azinu Alef. I played around with it in iPhoto & voila!

Mishtaneh, I appreciate & echo your words of wisdom. Shamati ve-ameyn.

11:34 AM  
Anonymous evgenya said...

wonderul post!

I've been meaning to call you these past few weeks. I'll try to do so soon...

Thank you for the thought-provoking and educational posts! Writing these up every day is a huge mitzvah in and of itself.

12:01 PM  
Blogger Soferet said...

Thanks, Ev :)
Oh, if *only* I could make the time to write something of quality every day - G@d willing I will reach that madrega one day!
I'm glad you're enjoying them, tho'. I enjoy your blog too, y'know!
& I'd love to talk to you! I miss you & I'm off to teach in Israel soon, so we should make a date :D

12:45 PM  

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