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 Soferet.com; 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.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

AHHH...

בס"ד
27 Tamuz


...a few quiet moments alone in my cool bedroom to relax, reflect, write.
Breathe, too. Breathing is good.

I had such an intense Shabbes! R' Ross, Tzvi, Cigal & I all davened at Yedidya, then retreated to R' Ross & Emily's Yemenite landlord's place for dinner. Our hosts were hardcore-from-the-old-country Yemenite, so their songs were exotic & in beautiful keys, their food spicy & their blessings long & loving. & they were all so smiley! The family had 11 children, 7 of whom were married.

My new housemates plus the woman I'm subletting from invited a few friends over for lunch, so I met more folks. They were great! There was a woman named Ayelet (I've always loved that name - it's so pretty & strong at the same time!) who'd just completed a 3-year full time Gemara program at Matan. & she was married with a baby! Good on her. 3 cheers for women's learning.

There was also a very cool Swede, the son of missionaries, who was studying Judaics at Hebrew U.

During the third meal of Shabbat, I returned to R' Ross & Emily & then experienced my very first Yemenite Havdalah. Wow. We were each passed a fresh piece of I don't know what plant for us to crush & smell at the b'samim (spices) blessing. It was unbelieveable - like citrus & herbal fruit. I pressed it in my volume of "Liqutey Sifrei Stam" when I got home.

I'm REALLY going to miss R' Ross & Emily...but feel very grateful that I could at least spend part of this day with them, 2 years after they left Vancouver.

I went for a walk around the old neighbourhood I used to live in 3 years ago, while I was here completing my sofrut certification. Emeq Refa'im, it's called, the Valley of Healing. & true to it's name, there is a wealth of health food stores, pilates, yoga, organics, recycling, chi-chi net cafes & funky restaurants all up & down the strip.

Cafe Hillel was one of those cafes - until September 9th, 2003. I lived 2 blocks from there & went for coffee & snacks with friends almost daily. This was my experience of the tragedy.

I strolled up the Emeq, curious as to what had been done with the old Cafe Hillel space, when lo & behold there it was. Completely rebuilt. Illuminated. Full of people.

My eyes teared up.

Now this is Israel. To rebuild in celebration & defiance. To make a memorial from renewed life. I decided to be davka as well & joined the throng inside.

I asked for a cafe barad ("barad means" "hail", as in one of the 10 Plagues). "Ayn ice" - there's no ice, said the shop girl. I asked for a shokolatte - they were out of chocolate as well. Barukh Ha-Shem! What a pleasure that this place is SO busy on a Saturday night that they run out of ice & chocolate - despite the suicide bombing of 3 years ago!

I collected my foamy warm drink & sat in the crowd where so many innocent folks had been torn apart that night, in a place that looked like nothing had ever happened. Terror now replaced by that familiar sexy Saturday night vibe you will find all over Israel.

The Valley of Healing, indeed.

Shavu'ah tov - a good week.




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7 Comments:

Anonymous Rachel said...

Shavua tov indeed!

At havdalah at Elat Chayyim on Saturday evening we passed orange-spice teabags around the room for our b'samim. Unorthodox, certainly, but in the moment it was the most beautiful scent imaginable... :_)

7:30 PM  
Blogger Soferet said...

בס"ד
That sounds gorgeous, Rachel :)
Sometimes "unorthodox" is the most sincerely religious, I think.

11:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome to Jerusalem! Sorry to be a nitpicker, but "Emek Refaim" means "Valley of Ghosts", not "Valley of Healing" (although I like your mis-translation better)

Moshe Kranc
www.hasidicmanagement.com

11:25 PM  
Blogger Soferet said...

בס"ד
Hi, Moshe, thanks for the welcome & barukh ha-ba to my blog :)

No worries about the nit-picking - so seriously, the shoresh/root "Reysh-Peh-Alef" means "ghost" as well as "heal"? I didn't know that - I've only heard of ghosts being referred to as ru'ach, ov, & the like. That's so interesting. See, I thought that the nahal of Emeq Refa'im was thought to have curative powers, hence my errors in this post...
...tell me more about these ghosts!

11:44 PM  
Blogger Soferet said...

בס"ד
BTW, Moshe, I checked out your book & it looks amazing. I'm going to look for a copy.

12:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emek Refaim is mentioned in Tanach as an enemy encampment of the Plishtim (Samuel 2, Chap 5:22). King David defeated them by attacking from behind. In modern Hebrew, for example, a ghost town is "Ir Refaim". Maybe the "ghost" and "healing" version of r-f-e come from the root r-f-f, which means "weak".

I'm glad you liked the excerpts from my book. My comment wasn't intended as free advertising, but a kind word is always appreciated. If you can't find a copy - I've got a basement full :-)

Kol Tuv,
Moshe

3:08 AM  
Blogger Soferet said...

בס"ד
Ah, I see. I looked up ancient tribal enemies of Israel & apparently the Refa'im were one of those. Fascinating. Learn something every day. I still like my mistranslation better, tho ;)

& no worries about the "free advertising" - some people have quite blatantly & successfully attempted to divert traffic from this blog to theirs through all sorts of means. This is not what you did.

I'll let you know if I need to access your basement...

10:20 AM  

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