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.

Friday, July 14, 2006


18 Tamuz

Registering online with the Canadian Embassy in Tel Aviv, I find this.

OFFICIAL WARNING: Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada advises against all travel to the region(s) specified below.

There is SO much to do before I leave - my laptop completely conked out, the power adapter cord broke, & the external cdr/w is corrupting files. I screwed up my blog template's code, so I had to choose this new one (pretty, isn't it?), but now this blog looks awful in Explorer, which is the most popular web browser. My friend Raziel says it's "Mercury Retrograde". I prefer to call it "G@d".

So I keep reminding myself that I'm lucky to not be living in a country where people want to kill me for being a Jew, or where I wasn't allowed to go to school because I'm female. That I can choose to fast on religious occasions rather than be starving from a famine.

& that I'm choosing to go through with my plans to live in Israel for a month. I'm lucky to be able to make my own decision. The choice is the thing.

I have a responsibility to share my knowledge & skills gained in my certification. & the more available I make myself (sofrim: you should avail yourself as well!), the fewer people will be trying their hand at sofrut without being fully trained.

I have always believed that sofrut theory should be made available to all Jews, but sofrut practice must only be open to those who will learn from adequate teachers & masters in great discipline. The teachings must continue to be passed down from mentor to student as they have been for untold centuries. That way the tradition will be preserved, the teachings intact, the practice kosher. It is easily perverted, used for the wrong ends, with inappropriate intentions. This only increases sin in the world, pushes the Messiah further away rather than inviting "him" closer, & does much personal & universal damage.

I want all Jews to be fully empowered in sofrut. This means proper training & an integral life practice to support it.

Just because someone writes a Torah or a mezuzah, it doesn't make them a sofer. Just because someone asks me a Halakhic question, it doesn't make me a rabbi! Arab women write Torahs all the time, which get floated onto the market. Some "sofrim" treat their Torahs, during writing or sometimes correcting, in a way which makes them not kosher. Or they are secretly not fully observant in their personal lives. Then other Jews unwittingly pay money & say blessings over these Torahs. It's a shanda.

These roles & titles (rabbi, sofer, shochet, mohel) must be very carefully guided & only awarded to those who have earned them. Would you give your 8-day-old son to be circumsized by a man who claims to be a mohel, without checking his credentials?

If you need to be tested & approved for a driver's license, how much more so for religious leadership, in which you perform sacred duties on behalf of others?

I'll leave you with a quote from R' Aryeh Kaplan's Jewish Meditation: a Practical Guide, which illustrates my point using mountaineering & meditation as an example:
All texts on Jewish meditation stress that the person embarking on more advanced forms of meditation should first develop a strong internal discipline. This is very important, since higher states of consciousness are very enticing and it is possible to lose one's sense of reality. However, if a person is in control of his actions and emotions in general, he will also remain in control of his sense of reality. Rather than negate his life, his meditative experiences will enhance it.

It is in this context that a common folk saying states that people who study Kabbalah go mad. This obviously does not mean the academic study of Kabbalah; although Kabbalah is a difficult intellectual discipline, it is no more dangerous than any other study. However, involvement in the more esoteric forms of Kabbalistic meditation can be dangerous to mental health, especially if the meditator proceeds without adequate preparation.

In a sense, it is like climbing a mountain. Even for an experienced climber, there is always an element of danger. If a person had limited experience, he would not even think of climbing a difficult mountain without a guide; to do so would be to court disaster. The same is true of one who tries the more esoteric forms of meditation without proper training and discipline.

The forms of meditation presented in this book are not dangerous mountains. Rather, they are gentle hills, which are safe to climb, but from which one can see wide vistas.

In other words, don't go chasing waterfalls - please stick to the rivers & the lakes that you're used to (TLC).

Shabbat Shalom!

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Blogger Casey said...

Looks very nice. Hey, maybe we could have some standards for mekubalim too. Might cut down on the number of Pulsa Dinura's floating around. ;)

Shabbat Shalom!

12:53 p.m.  
Blogger Soferet said...

Thanks, Casey & welcome to my blog-room :)
I really like your blog - very cool...I'll give it another look later.
I'm *all* about standards! & for those of you who don't know what Pulsa Dinura is, check here.

1:16 p.m.  

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