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, April 03, 2005



I recently received an e-mail telling me I was not presenting both sides of the "women as sofrot" argument, that I had not laid out the claims against my practice & that this was irresponsible. I was surprised, because in my experience many people feel quite free to inform me that I'm a heretic for practicing sofrut. I'm under the impression that historical pressure to exclude women from this profession is common knowledge & what I desire to present in my blog is uncovered Halakhah, Minhag & earlier sofrot which is all supportive of widening women's ritual role within Judaism. I also have not elucidated on both sides because I am not a poseket, nor do I have any Halakhic authority to render a legal judgement on this issue. I have never pretended that there was nothing in the history of Jewish Law against women acting as sofrot & I have stated as much in earlier posts. But I wish to present the discoveries I am making & hope that I can help to broaden the choice of leadership role that Torah-observant women may take on their shoulders. & anybody should feel free to disagree.

If it's G@d's will, it will happen - & I want to have the priviledge of being a part of it. If it's against G@d's will, then it won't happen, plain & simple.


Blogger ilan said...

The truth is that while I didn't read what your emailer wrote, and it may have been more vitriolic than you said, I had some similar concerns.
Let me back up. A friend of mine had pointed out your blog to me, and i was legitimately excited. I saw here a woman, who felt the need for more connection to Judaism, to Hashem, who was pursuing that relationship in a novel, though permitted way. It made me happy, because I think (mostly due to our inability to change some fairly hefty rabbinic priciples without a sanhedrin), that many of these women's issues, though entirely valid, are not easily tractable.
As luck would have it, I was learning Masechet Sofrim at the time. I decided to trace the issue through the normative sources to better understand it. I went through the Tur, the Rambam, the Shulchan Aruch, and the MIshnah Berurah, and every time, I came up with an unequivocal answer: woman cannot write a Sefer Torah. As you may understand, this upset and confused me. So I poked around your site some more, and came upon the women's Torah project, and went over to the halachic discussion part of it. My chevruta and I looked at the relevant sources, most notably the Sha'agat Aryeh, which seems to be the best support for the notion that women may write a Sefer Torah. We discovered that he doesn't seem to say exactly what that site claims, and that his conclusion is that women may not write a Sefer Torah. I don't have the Sha'agat Aryeh on hand right now, but I would be happy to look it up if you would like to continue this conversation. In any case, assuming that you are using the halachic basis found on that site, and not some other basis I am simply unaware of, I'm a bit confused. If you were just some woman who was into sofrut as a way to embrace women's lib or to thumb your nose at those who were more traditionalist in their approach, then I would understand. But any honest observer can see that you are neither of these. So, yeah, what am I missing?

Note: I hope I come across as I am, as a sincere seeker of the truth, and not someone who wishes to criticize you neither for being a soferet nor for being a woman who wants to expand her religious horizons and those of the world.

7:32 p.m.  

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