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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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, September 28, 2006

A SMALL YUD IN HA'AZINU

BS"D


The letter Yud has a numerical value of 10. Ten fingers, ten toes, ten commandments & with ten utterances Ha-Shem created the universe; ten emanations - "eser Sefirot" - of the Eitz Chayim, the Tree of Life in Kabbalah, from conception to completion...

Yud is the building block of the Alefbet, each letter in fact being made up of a series of Yuds. The seed, the sperm, the primordial force initiating the flow of life. The catalyst.

Yad, hand, indicates a means of action. Agency. The universe is set in motion by the movement of the Yad Chazaqah - the strong hand of G@D - being the symbol of creative and directive energy.

The Zohar (Vayikra 147) explains that Yud consists of three parts: a point rising upwards to the One above, a point directed downwards to earth and the middle part uniting both. The shape of the Yud is symbolic of a person in prayer. Our eyes are lowered in humility as we stand before the Holy One, while our hearts are turned upward, toward heaven (Yevamot 105b). All three parts of the Yud are of equal importance Halakhically. The Talmud notes that it is "obvious [peshita]" that a mezuzah klaf or Torah scroll is invalid if it lacks even a "qotzo shel Yud", the point of the Yud (Menachot 29a; Rashi).

& with all this in mind...

In this week's Parsha for Shabbat Tshuvah, Ha'azinu/Deuteronomy 32:18, there's a small Yud in in the word teshi - unmindful.

יח צוּר יְלָדְךָ, תֶּשִׁי; וַתִּשְׁכַּח, אֵל מְחֹלְלֶךָ.
"The Rock that birthed you, you neglected/were unmindful of, you forgot the G@D that produced-you-in-labour:"

This tiny Yud was listed in Midrash Rabbah Aqim as one of the letter oddities which must be written into a Sefer Torah for it to be considered kosher for ritual use.
R' Chayim David HaLevy, who is a Kabbalist rabbi I quote often, wrote that a letter written in miniscule indicates that a person or people in the narrative have somehow missed the mark; that they could have done better.

Among the many gifts that Ha-Shem has given us is the power of shikhah — forgetfulness. Moshe Rabeynu said this to us right before he died. This is the last sheet of parchment in the Torah, people. Our problem is that vatishkach Keil mecholelekha — we're using our power of forgetfulness to neglect Ha-Shem, Who gives us each breath straight from Divine compassion. Is that any way to act?

It's so hard to be human. & G@d knows just what a hard job we have. That's why we got Torah. But if we forget, then our agency, our yad, is diminished. So here we have a small Yud to remind us...not to forget :)

May we all be blessed with consciousness enough to become good humans this year.

Cross-posted at Radical Torah .




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