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.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

EPICENTRE

BS"D
Rosh Chodesh Menachem Av


Just some photos for now - I'll write about today a little later...

Early morning, Western Wall:
The Western Wall of the Har Ha-Bayit
Taken at the Kotel from the women's side of the prayer partition. I was there with Women of the Wall to celebrate the new month in prayer.


My fervent prayer:
My Fervent Prayer
Mine is the folded one in the centre.


Trio at Robinson's Arch:
Soferet, Haviva Ner-David & Danya Ruttenberg @ Robinson's Arch, Jerusalem
The author, R' Haviva Ner-David, & Danya Ruttenberg.
You can really see how deformed my writing hand is from being crushed all those years ago. I never realized how obvious is was until now.


Work view:
Twin Windows at Tmol Shilshom
Much time was spent in conversation & meditation beneath these twin arches at Tmol Shilshom, my fave place to be second only to the Holy Wall.

Tmol shilshom - a long time ago - is just as much a sanctuary as it ever was. So much energy exchange here. Sharing. Acceptance. Giving. Vulnerability. Depth. Communing. Love.
This place affords an intimacy rarely found.
Takes me back to another time - a long ago which seems like the day before - when there was such a presence here, sitting across a small, round table from me.

Did G@d create us to desire another, ephemeral, naked, fragile resting place for our souls...& for what purpose?
If G@d is enough, then why do we pursue Not-G@d? Because of the spark of G@d within that which we desire...


Danya & I met outside my place & embraced on our meeting for the first time. She is a luminous being :)

We caught a cab to the Kotel & met with the (in)famous Women of the Wall.

We were summoned to gather very close together so we could all hear the woman leading the prayers without her raising her voice. It is against Israeli law for women to lift their voices at the Western Wall.

There was a tremendous amount of tension in the air, even though this group meets at the back corner of the women's area, as far away from the men's section as possible, & prays quietly so as to respect the prayerspace of others. We davened shachrit in that early morning light blue sky thin air face to face with the Western Wall of the Har ha-Bayit.

Our leader reminded us to feel our feet on the ground of this Holy Place & to feel privileged that we could stand here at all.

After shachrit & Hallel, we recited Tehilim/Psalms 121 & 130 for the protection of the Land, its People & to help those whose work & sacrifice allows us to be in this Place. I felt so grateful.

Years ago, I sat with R' Ross Singer, my Rabbi, in our synagogue. I asked him to go through the siddur (prayerbook) with me to show me what were the minimum daily prayers, psalms, & etc I was obligated to say. I starred them with pencil & to make them easier to find later, I used a series of coloured paper clips to keep the pages together containing passages that I "didn't need" to read, recite or perform. Now, as we went through the morning service together at the Wall I found myself having to peer between my clipped pages in order to keep up with the leader. Eventually, I took one of the paper clips off, freeing the pages for the first time in ages. To see my hand remove these boundaries & to see the leaves of my prayerbook fly free, filled with Psalms & supplications to G@d was so liberating!

more later...

When it was time for the Torah service, I offered to carry the Sefer from the Kotel to Robinson's Arch, the designated prayer spot for W.O.W. It was such an honour. I had an exchange with Anat & later with Batya. The whole experience just filled me up, being with so many other women of all ages, some in tallit, others also wrapped in tefilin.

The young woman who leyned the Torah portion for Rosh Chodesh Av, the New Month, was beautiful. Her voice pure, in jeans & Naots with her hair covered. I was tempted to take a picture, to capture an image of this moment, but really, if I'm going to be present in this instant then I will just simply be.

The moment that truly brought me to the sobering reality of where I was & what I was doing was when I found my voice rising in front of this great wall in the holy place - something I had never been allowed to do before.

Women's voices must always be undetectable to men at the Kotel, but here, slightly south & on the other side of the ramp leading to the mountain, we were free to read Torah, lay tefilin & pray to the creator as we so chose (which was an Orthodox women's service).

My voice caught in my throat at this realization & my chest filled with joy.

No one was going to shut me up. My reaching for G@d would not be snuffed by yelling, spitting or chair-throwing. Thank G@d.

After, I met the wall up close. I wrote the deepest, most dear wishes of my heart on a paper torn from my moleskine flip-pad I always carry & prayed my extra prayer as I am accustomed to.

I wept.

I placed my note in the wall, just in a small crack between the ancient limestone blocks & retreated. I noticed a pair of doves communing in a larger crag of the rock. Grey & white.

R' Haviva Ner-David, Sasha Edge, Danya Ruttenberg & I all met together. I was so honoured. R' Haviva is such a beautiful woman, both her physical manifestation & her neshamah (soul). Sasha interviewed us for her film as we all sat on a fallen pillar from the destruction of Jerusalem almost 2,000 years ago.

It's such a privilege to sit with these 2 distinguished women who have done such important work on behalf of the rest of us. I surveyed the remains of our destroyed Temple Mount piled like random stone sugar cubes, still bearing the scorch marks from the great fire.

How did we get here?

Danya, Sasha & I settled in at Tmol Shilshom after a trip to the Arab shuq where I bought gifts for my Muslim girl-friends back in Vancouver.

Nothing else needs to happen today for this First of Av to be great.

Chodesh tov - a good month to all. & may the month of Menachem Av bring the People Israel, the State of Israel & everyone in the world comfort & peace.




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2 Comments:

Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Shavua‘ tov!

It was great meeting you with you-know-who in you-know-where! :-)

1:58 PM  
Blogger Soferet said...

בס"ד
Shavu'ah tov, Steg!

Yes'um, I agree. I wish you & I'd had a chance to talk more, tho'.

2:35 PM  

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