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.

Monday, May 16, 2005



This morning, before commencing the Torah-checking at B'nai Torah, Joel took me to one of the local organic farms we could bike to for any future grocery trips. This will come in handy when we build our Jewish co-housing community as well.

Wandered into Traditions, where there was plenty of organic clothing, plenty of fair trade Buddhas & no Jewish stuff. Smelled good, tho'...

After lunch, Sherri let me into the synagogue so I could check their 2 Torahs - a small delicate one written in Vellish (Sefardi) script & another larger one.
The large was brushed with log, a substance made from powdered qlaf & chalk which is applied wet & then dries on the parchment. It's often used to make thin qlaf look less transluscent (ie, thicker) & also appear whiter. Whiter parchment is easier to read from, & is considered aesthetically more pleasing as well, so it's more expensive for sofrim to buy & we pass that expense on to our customers. This is a problem, because log can wear off & flake pretty quickly, which leaves a Sefer looking ugly & not kosher. There is also a makhlochet (dispute in Jewish Law) about whether or not Sifrei Torah, Mezuzot or Tefilin are ever kosher to begin with if their writing surfaces are coated with log. Why? Because the letters are not written on the parchment, but on an intervening substance & besides, it's bad karma.

So, why do some sofrim do this? Good question.
Note: I refuse to use qlaf mashuchah (parchment brushed with log) in any of my work.

The log had already begun rubbing off of this relatively new Sefer. Even slight moisture can create wrinkles in the parchment which, when the coating rubs away from these raised & folded areas, will reveal the greys & browns underneath - the true colours of the qlaf & then wear the letters away & turn into tears, as wrinkles in Torahs eventually do :(

I'm so glad I'm using the finest quality of parchment for my Kadima-Torah!

Wish I could write in Sefardi style - I could write so much faster without compromising the letters & then I would be under a lot less pressure from my clients.

Joel & I headed into town again to have dinner with my father-in-law, which was quite grand. It's good to have such a great one, too, & so much like my own Dad...

I gave my "Netivat Sofrut" talk in the social hall back at the Conservative shul which was quite well received. It generated more Halakhic debate & discussions of real-world applications than I think of any other group I've ever spoken to!

Drove to Silverdale after a large helping of peanut butter cookies to visit with the mom-in-law & family... was a full day.

Good night!


Blogger Raines said...

Have you blogged about your cohousing plans?

The world is eager to know!

Raines Cohen
Cohousing Magazine

1:04 a.m.  
Blogger Soferet said...

Raines, shalom shalom!
Great to get your comment - thanks! I am slowly perusing the link you sent me & Joel & I are enjoying it immensely. We're going to write more about our plans in the future, as they take a more discernable shape, but in the meantime, let's be in touch! You may have some important reseources that will be of help to us & who knows? Perhaps there is something we can do for you/your mag...
Shavu'ah tov!

10:35 a.m.  

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