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, August 04, 2006


10 Menachem Av

Written Wednesday, before the fast...
I'm actually working on Eycha right now, getting ready for Tisha B'Av & its transformative powers. The trope fills me with trepidation, so the challenge is to engage with it & just be present. Acknowledge the feelings it inspires & bravely stay with it. Wish me luck.

My aim is to utterly dump my spiritual viscera this Tisha B'Av so I am an empty vessel ready to soak up that holy vibe from my time & experiences here.
Ve-liYerushalayim irkha b'rachamim tashuv...
"And to Jerusalem, Your city, may You return in compassion..."

More soon...

Written late at night, Wednesday...or maybe very early Thursday morning...

ne'alekha - "your shoes"

On our dutiful march to the Kotel I was reminded of Parshat Sh'mot, Exodus 3:5:
?????????, ???-???????? ?????; ????-?????????, ????? ?????????--???? ????????? ?????? ?????? ?????? ??????, ???????-?????? ????.

Va-yomer, al-tiqrav halom; shal-ne'alekha, mey'al rag'lekha -- ki ha-maqim asher atah omeyd alav, ademat-qodesh hu
"And He said: 'Come no closer; take your shoes from off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.'"

The gematria/numerology for na'al, shoe or sandal, is 150; Nun (50) + Ayin (70) + Lamed (30).
The number 150 is the same for the word ka'as, anger (Khaf (20) + Ayin (70) + Samekh (60). It means to be vexed, angry or irritable.
The same shoresh/root can mean to fasten or bolt; enclose, lock, or shut up.

There is a midrash, a way of understanding the underlying meaning of this Torah text, which tells us that this is how a person must enter into sacred relationship. That in order to be successful, no barrier should be placed between oneself & one's Beloved. So Ha-Shem required before inviting Moshe to begin covenanting. We see this later - Kohanim serving in Temple, Yehoshua entering the Land...

In other words, don't cause your partner to give up their humanity in order to engage in relationship with you.

As we entered the Jewish Quarter - the smallest Quarter - of the Old City, I removed my sandals & stepped onto the warm, smooth stones. It was delicious, like G@d had installed radiant heating. I highly recommend it.

The sacred act of pilgrimmage is one we have to be careful with. There is an exquisitely fine line between actions performed lishma, for the Sake of Heaven, & those which are rooted in self-indulgence. The latter turns an offering of pure faith into fetishism.

Jordan, Danya & I all agree: "...considering religion in general is 90% fetishism, and pilgrimage = fetishism + tourism for the most part, how can you hit people over the head and say, "Be mindful! Stop being a caricature of yourself!"?...

With this attitude I approach the Wall

It's important to remove the tumah - the spiritual impurity - of fear & the soul-paralysis that leads to. It's a bad road & there's nothing but sin. I began this process by weeping through Ma'ariv, particularly at the point where we beg G@d to return to us on this holy mountain, the retaining wall of which I was clutching. I was surrounded by thousands of Jewish women crushing me into the stones, crying, "Sh'ma qoleynu!" "Hear our voice!"

I disassembled myself there, against the holy wall, in preparation for becoming the most receptive vessel that I can, what with my ego & all.

& I attempted to birth a new existence on the floor of the Isralight Centre later.

Afterwards there were shiurim by R' David Aaron & R' Binny Freedman were thoroughly inspirational. R' Freedman had just lost a cousin in the war up north. The boy had been married for only 2 weeks. Kol ha-kavod la-hem.

Cigal & I walked home in the deserted city streets.

An easy fast...

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