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.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005



8 Tishrei

Back of my last mezuzah


So, I was working at a Conservative synagogue today, repairing one of their Torah scrolls. They're very friendly there, especially the rabbi, who is this fabulous German-Mexican JTS rav. I am always impressed by him each time we meet - I do some teaching there as well as work on their Torahs - because he exudes such passion for Judaism & such rigid ethical standards. It's like he's constantly on fire. I really admire him.

Unfortunately, each time I come to do repairs, the mantle has been inevitably switched on the Sefer I'm fixing & it always takes me a while to find it. & as they continue using the Torahs that are pasul (there are leniencies permitting this, so there's no problem), they are never rolled to the place where I left them. So each visit is rather time consuming in the beginning, but I manage. I just have to correct each one from one end or thre other all the way through, otherwise I'll miss a bit & that won't do. The Sefer I was repairing today has further degraded since I first checked & assessed it, as it is in delicate condition (it's from before 1860 & has some water damage) & in regular use. If I could just get them to give it a little break until I've re-kashered it, I'd be so happy.

But maybe I should be so happy anyway :)

So this rabbi told me a story of a well known sofer who came to his synagogue & asked to look at the Torahs. He whipped one out & threw it open & was very careless & rough with it as he rolled through it, announcing all it's problems. He insisted that he take all the synagogues Torah scrolls back to LA with him to repair. The rabbi said no. This is not a piece of wood, he said, not only some fabric. This is a Sefer Torah, & you have shown no kavod (respect) in handling it, so you cannot touch any of them.

So there.

I also had the pleasure of meeting another rabbi, a charming Israeli-Brazillian rav from the Qol Ya'aqov yeshivah. He teaches kabbalah here in Vancouver & guess what? He doesn't teach at synagogues or the JCC, he teaches at regular, not-Jewish community centres & even the Peretz Centre (for secular Jewish culture). Kol haKavod to him!

Front of my last mezuzah:


Talmud Bavli Eruvin 13a shares this exchange to support our understanding that global care of one's Self is necessary to perform sofrut:
When R' Meir became a student of R' Yishmael, the latter asked him, "My son, what is your profession?" R' Meir replied, "I am a scribe." To this R' Yishmael remarked, "My son, be scrupulous in your work, for it is a heavenly pursuit, & should you delete one letter or add one letter, such effort is tantamount to destroying the entire world."

Let's Keep the world going!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love seeing these photos of your work, which is so very beautiful.

G'mar chatimah tovah; may you have a wonderful holiday, and emerge renewed and refreshed for the year to come!

9:24 a.m.  
Blogger Soferet said...

Thank you, Rachel - I'm really glad you like the pix. Kena hora, I was blessed with a very good teacher.

Ameyn to your wish & I send the same back at you :D

10:28 p.m.  

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