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.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


20 Tamuz

An Egyptian cleric encourages youngsters to participate in jihad (Holy War) on children's tv program.

An interesting note on Nasrallah's foresight which I spied on one of the news feeds I subscribe to:
During his press conference where he announced the kidnapping of the Israeli solders last week, a reporter asked: "Did you consider the price the Lebanese economy would pay?"
Nasrallah, surprised, squirmed and gave an answer that could be condensed to one sentence: "Yes, but there are more important things."
Way to plan ahead.
What's more important than people living in safety, with access to nutritious food & clean water?

This sort of thing makes me crazy. Crazy like how 2 years ago the UN asked the Lebanese government to be responsible for the south of their country by taking control away from Hezbollah. Because Hezbollah will lob rockets into Israel indefinitely. It's one of the few guarantees in life - like death & taxes.

So now the Lebanese people are split, some furious at Israel, some at Hezbollah, & I don't blame them. Hezbollah rockets have landed in Tiberias, may everyone there recover, dangerously close to people I love at that Kibbutz where I used to live, Kfar Ha-Nasi. Also the holy city of Tzfat. I don't think they'd bomb Jerusalem, what with the various Muslim holy sites atop the Temple Mount, but you know...I'm not sure what the madman in Iran Ahmadinejad is capable of. I hope this reporter is right.

Khaleel Mohammed writes in this fascinating article:

"I argue that a thorough investigation of Islam's two main sources, the Qur'an and the Hadith, present conflicting views on the issue. If the Qur'an is read on its own, without the refraction of the Hadith, it could, based on certain verses, be mistaken for a very right-wing Zionist document. The Hadith, on the other hand, collected more than a century after Muhammad's death, can never be mistaken for anything remotely Zionist: the land of Israel is Muslim territory to be wrested from the accursed Jews in a brutal and bloody eschatological battle. In this paper I examine those contradictory perspectives and investigate the importance of this information in and outside of the Muslim world. Throughout this paper, unless otherwise indicated, the term "Zionism" is not used as in political or secular definitions, but in accordance with the Biblical concept of Eretz Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people. There is certainly no doubt that when Nathan Birnbaum coined the word in the 1890s, he did so from a secular perspective; yet, the concept (as opposed to the term) is as old as the Bible itself if we take it to refer to a scriptural writ of enlandisement.

The Qur'an

If the idea of Israel (Zion) as a homeland for the Jewish people were to be found only in the Torah, it would have been irrelevant to discuss the Muslim view on that issue. But this Biblical concept is found in the Qur'an to the point where Islam's main document mentions that God favored the Children of Israel above all nations and decreed Israel as an abode for them, granting holy status to that land:

"And Remember when Moses said to his people: O my people! Remember the
favors of your Lord that he has bestowed upon you, as He has made
prophets and kings from among you, and has given to you that which
has never been given to anyone amongst the nations. Enter then, my
People, the Holy Land, that God has written for you, and turn not
back, or you will suffer."
Qur'an 5: 20-21

Long before the formation of the State of modern Israel in 1948, the Muslim exegetes explained these verses in a manner that would have shocked their coreligionists of today who clamor for the destruction of Israel. To elucidate my point, I have rendered verse 5: 21 above in as literal a manner as possible: translating the Arabic KaTaBa as "written." This word has definite theological connotations: in Islam, as in Jewish belief, it conveys the idea of decisiveness and finality, e.g., in "written Torah" as opposed to "oral Torah."

In the notes on this piece, I find:

"...Since the Qur'an 5:20-1, like the Torah, sees a specific geographic area as belonging and governed by the children of Israel, I feel comfortable using the term [Zionism]."

"...The Qur'an 5: 21 is extremely clear that Israel, by divine decree, is the land of the people of Moses. ... That verse ... does NOT in any way deny Israel as the land conferred on the Jews by divine decree."

"Several other verses support the above two, among them: Q7: 137, 10: 93, 17: 104, and 21: 71, 81. The verses that are particularly important are Q5: 20-1."

He also goes into how the whole Jew=White=Western=Evil propaganda was originally used to further the cause of Arab nationalism, but since the steady rise of fundamentalist Islam over the past couple of decades the nationalists have hitched their wagon to that star. This way they can still party with the power-base.

I still say we have Britain & France to "thank" for setting up this house of cards for us.

In concluding this article, Professor Mohammed writes:

"...Muslims are not only beginning to reexamine the culture of death and terrorism that have developed out of a hadith-based Judeophobia and all things related to Judaism, among them Zionism..."

"It may be argued that currently Islam is still used as the cohesive force among those opposed to the state of Israel, and that there seems to be no room for any dissent among Muslims regarding this seemingly unanimous position. The views expressed in this article, despite being culled from the Qur'an itself and the most authoritative sources, represent a minority position that seems unlikely to be accepted by the larger body of Muslims. But this is precisely why the information is of vital importance to both Muslims and non-Muslims. It forces Muslims to see that the Qur'an has a totally contrary worldview to that of what the imams have been preaching about Zionism and Israel. It forces Muslims to realize that the oral tradition is the source of the inimical attitude. This article also provides non-Muslims with the requisite information to argue against the Muslim extremists who argue that Islam is against Zionism and Israel. And it forces both non-Muslims and Muslims to delve into history and remember that in 1919, Amir Feisal had reached an agreement with Chaim Weitzman regarding Israel. This proves that the opposition to the state of Israel is NOT an intrinsic part of Islam; instead it is a later formulation brought about by political and nationalistic ideologies."

So, in summary:
The Qur'an recognizes the Divinely granted right of Jews to live in the Land of Israel...
...&. I.
have. not.
done. acid.

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Anonymous margaret said...

thanks for this, Avielah -- I'm skipping the usual email since you are leaving soon and I wanted to wish you well on your journey. I'll have some letters for you when you return....
shalom * shalom

8:13 p.m.  
Blogger Soferet said...

Thank you, Margaret. I welcome your wishes & sincerely thank you for them. I've had much e-mail trouble anyway, so it's better to be in touch with me via the blog, at least for now. Thank you so much for your patience & I really am looking forward to seeing your letters on my return to Canada :)
Be well!!

5:38 a.m.  

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