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.

Thursday, August 25, 2005



20 Av

Morning tow to the North Bay Canadian Tire - nice local chap picked us up...your typical small-town, no-nonsense Canuck.

Turns out the belt which broke runs the air pump, which basically functions as a means to dilute the car's emissions. & it burned up because the air pump had siezed. This model of air pump is no longer available, so we not only couldn't replace that, but replacing the belt was pointless. The friendly mechanics at Canada's greatest home & automotive store sent us on our way, saying that our car was indeed safe to drive the remaining 3,000 kilometres back home to Vancouver & that we would even notice no difference in our gas mileage.

But boy, does the car reek now :(

So we washed up in the bathroom there, davened in the garage waiting room & headed on our adventure to Thunder Bay...
...& ended up staying in White River. The sun was going down & we just didn't want to end up as two of the annual summer human/moose fatalities along that stretch of the Trans Canada Highway. I was really looking forward to Shabbes in Winnipeg with the Benarroch family, & didn't want an animal heavier than our car crushing us in the meantime. There's still too much Torah to learn!

Turns out, White River is where Winnie the Pooh was born!

You learn something every day...G@d willing...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005



19 Av

Drove to Ottawa!
We had made a picnic lunch for ourselves to eat on Parliament Hill. We ate by the statues honouring The Famous Five, then toured around the Hill admiring the architecture & exploring its many features...including a cat sanctuary!

We tried to confirm our camp site in Kiosk, so we could camp in legendary Algonquin park.
Light was going away, so we turned down the road to Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park to do mincha & set up camp. That was when the engine began to squeal like a banshee (what do banshees sound like when they squeal?) & threads of black smoke began rising from under the hood. We stopped & immediately turned off the motor. I dashed to the back & started chucking our stuff out of the car, just in case it was going to blow up. Joel looked at the engine & we discovered one of the belts had burned through. Great. A belt is a critical part - trouble is, we didn't know what the belt was FOR, so we knew we had to call for help in the morning. Our poor car limped into the park, we got a lovely, simple little campsite on Moore Lake & we settled in for the night.

* in memory of Wade Hemsworth

Tuesday, August 23, 2005



18 Av

Still recovering from all the teaching & travelling, so spent much of today resting. We just couldn't stay away, so we late lunch at Chez Benny! Oh, but it was so very succulent! I highly recommend this place if you are a meat-monger, even if you don't keep kosher. It even has veggie options, so bring your parve friends!

This afternoon we went to the chupah of one of my favourite people in the world!!! I've known Josa since she was 13. She's one of Byron's "little" sisters. Byron, of course, being the only man in the world I can truly call my brother. I don't have any male siblings, but even if I did, Byron is a true friend.

It was held at the Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue, the oldest congregation in Canada & the one where Dr Norma Joseph's husband is the rabbi. At first, Joel & I were a bit afraid that we'd look a little schlumpy compared to all the Montréalers. They're known to be snappy dressers & intimidate all other Canucks in the fashion department. But there was enough of a West Coast contingent there that we didn't stand out :)

Anyway, the Kallah was stunningly beautiful, the ritual mysterious, & the celebration joyful without limit. I also connected with several old frinds & got the opportunity to introduce them to the hubby.

I told Josa a midrash about the letter Chet, as they were married on Yud-Chet Av. That one of the things that Chet symbolises is a Vav, the groom, & a Zayin, the bride, as they dance happily together holding the handkerchief between them.
Mazal tov to everyone!

Monday, August 22, 2005



17 Av

We spent a sloooow day getting oriented to this large, flat, multi-ethnic, poly-lingual city. Thankfully, we are near the Métro, lots of Yidden & kosher everything! YAY!
The people of this ancient (by New World standards - it's over 300 years old) town are famous for their attitude & beauty, regardless of their origins. & really, it's Jewish Canadian Paradise, IMHO. If I (read we) were to move to a larger Jewish centre, it would be Montréal, not Toronto. Just have to work on my Joual...
...& who cares about the giant glowy neon cross atop Mount Royal? Mordechai Richler's buried in that park!

We headed to Byron's place & hung out with him in the afternoon - he lives by this funky street mall of chi-chi (pronounced shee-shee: it means "posh") boutiques & haberdasheries. Very cool. & flat. Everything here is so flat. Not as flat as southern Ontario, but still...yikes.

Later we had dinner at Chez Benny, which is a glatt grill paradise. Can one use the word "paradise" too often when describing Montréal? I think not.
The beef & chicken were amazing & the bonus was I didn't lose my wallet this time!

Sunday, August 21, 2005



16 Av

Really enjoyed teaching this morning. I had some very bright & talented students & it was a real pleasure! Yay, G@d!

We were honoured with going to Shanna & Julian's for lunch. "...two of us Sunday driving, not arriving...better believe it". SHE IS AN AMAZING COOK! & they're both genuinely kind, thoughtful people who I wish lived closer to us...

Joel & I packed up & left hurriedly for Montreal - it was very sad to have to say goodbye to R' Victor, but OH CANADA!
After a several hour drive through New England & an encounter with a strict, young customs girl at the border, we finally arrived *so late* at our hosts' home in Hampstead & crashed.

Saturday, August 20, 2005



15 Av

Guiltlessly schluffed much of this Shabbes...

Friday, August 19, 2005



14 Av

This morning I completed the checking I had been asked to do. Barukh HaShem!

Some people wonder why they should have their Sifrei checked. It's because we aren't allowed to to use a Sefer Torah for kri'at HaTorah (public Torah readings) if it has errors*. Some rabbis say we aren't even allowed to learn out of it. People & congregations who wish to be stringent will have their Torahs professionally checked, rather than take the chance that a problem may be discovered during a reading, after you have said the blessing (in vain, turns out) & must stop & switch to another Torah...if you have one available**.
There are, of course, kulas (lenient opinions) which disagree with the above.

I headed into downtown Boston to buy calligraphy felts for the Hebrew calligraphy & midrash class I'm teaching on Sunday & got ready for Shabbes

* Rambam, Hilchot Sefer Torah; Rashba, Teshuvot HaRashba
** Rashba, Teshuvot HaRashba; Rabbeinu Asher, Teshuvot HaRosh; many, many others

Thursday, August 18, 2005



13 Av

If you are genuine about this work, you will perform it with patience & obedience to the Halakhah. If you do not, then you do not have a "calling", but a simple "desire". There is a vast difference between the two M.O.s. One cannot do this work however one wishes.
When you choose to be a part of our tradition & to be a representative of that tradition even more so, then you will have to give up your autonomy in order to call yourself "rabbi" or "sofer". Otherwise, how can other Jews who cannot perform the work you do on their can they rely on you as a credible agent?

I gave a talk at Nehar Shalom tonight, just as Shanna reported. There were actually a couple of Orthodox people in the group, which was really encouraging. The folks were all lovely & much deep discussion was inspired, lishma (for the sake of Heaven), thank G@d.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005



12 Av

One of the Sifrei Torah I checked today had an amazing & amusing problem. Where we received the Aseret HaDibrot (10 Commandments) in Sefer Sh'mot (the Book of Exodus), I was reading the last utterance, which is normally translated into English as "You shall not covet your neighbour's house, nor his wife, his man-servant, his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is your neighbour's. " except that in this Torah, the word "Lo" ("not") was completely obliterated...that's right, it was just...gone.
Which means that the 10th Commandment in this Torah says, "You shall covet your neighbour's house, & his wife, his man-servant, his maid-servant, & his ox, & his ass, & anything that is your neighbour's!"
Can you imagine how much this Torah would be worth to some people? "Well, maybe your Torah says not to covet, but mine insists on it!" :D
I told the synagogue dierctor that this word had flaked completely off the parchment & what that meant & she replied, "Tell me when you find something in one of our Torahs that says we can eat shrimp!"

A private owner of a Torah came to me with their Sefer to check. They related a very bad story about the sofrim who last "repaired" it. I was so sorry to hear this, & this poor Torah was in terrible shape because of what they did to it. This is not the first time I have heard negative reports about these particular men. Halakhah (Jewish Law) prohibits me from identifying them under the circumstances, so all I can say here is: If you don't know if you can trust a sofer 110%, then please wait & do not give any of your sacred ritual objects to him. Ask around & find out who is kosher in their deeds & not just their name.

Another Torah I checked today had a tiny Peh written inside the "tongue" of a Peh in Ha'azinu. It was so gorgeous!

It has been such a long day & I have been working so hard. I had dinner with Joel, R' Neal, & Joel's cousins Jay & Laura at some crazy place in Brookline :D
Later we four relatives hung out in the car in R' Victor's driveway for a while talking about the family.
I sure learned a lot.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005



11th Av

I read the paper this morning over breakfast - Boston Globe - all about how the disengagement is going. It's a tense & angsty time, but so far no deaths - nobody has even gone berserk, thank G@d. May it all go smoothly with no loss of life.
Missed my commuter train by 1 minute, so had to wait an hour in the station, where I wrote this. There's all kinds of free WiFi here, but I can't seem to get on :(

How different life is in Boston than in Gaza.

I discovered a Sefer Torah today with 3 different kinds of tape holding it together: packing, masking & scotch. What a nightmare. It's bad enough that they all have treyf (unkosher) glue adhering them to the parchment, but scotch tape leaves very bad stains. & packing tape is often impossible to remove, so these problems aren't as simple as just pulling the tape off or even sanding off the residue. It can mean re-writing entire yeri'ot (sheets of parchment).
People have no idea the kind of problems they're creating for themselves by putting tape on their Torahs. PLEASE, those of you out there who have access to Sifrei, if you suspect any problem at all, just call a sofer!

Monday, August 15, 2005



10 Av

This morning I headed to Swampscott on the commuter rail.
I had been hired to check Torahs for the shul where we had our bedeken & ketubah signing last year. I got misty each time I walked between the bridal room & the lobby. Hard to believe it was almost a year ago.

It never ceases to amaze me why anyone would use packing tape to patch a small tear in a Sefer Torah. This one had a signature written on it along the edge as well. What for? It's so easy to make a Torah treyf (unfit), why take chances?

I noticed for the first time that the rabbi's office has a private passage to the bride's room - talk about rabbinic priviledge!

I crept into the rabbi's office to check my e-mail only to find the rabbi packing up as he was leaving his post. "Wow!" I said, "you have a really big office!"
"& you know why rabbis need really big offices?" he asked, "because they need a place to keep their really big shofars" he said, producing - what else? - a really big shofar.

He drove me back into Boston & we had a lovely dinner with R' Victor Reinstien & his wife Mieke.
It was so terrific to catch up & be back in a home :)

Sunday, August 14, 2005



Tisha b'Av

Misery, hunger & dehydration.

Read "The Big Book of Jewish Conspiracies: What if it was all true?" by David Deutsch & Joshua Neuman, editors of Heeb: The New Jewish Review.

I chose not to take the leniency allowing me to work in the afternoon, as I was too starving to properly focus on forming the precious letters.

Joel & I broke fast at Eden Wok with Ada. We had meat :)

Thursday, August 11, 2005



6 Av a Masorti sofer st"m?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005



5 Av

Muggy tried to steal my cereal this morning. & my lunch.
She would be Ada's cat. & a plucky one at that.

Sometime I must write something on being a soferet & a housewife. It's funny how so many people are under the impression that I'm some sort of angry feminist trying to stick in everyone's craw. If only they saw me at home (or out here on the road, for that matter) cooking meals & washing Joel's socks!
We had din tonight at Pongal with Alisha & Peninah & her hubby. It was so great to discover that they're just as cool in real life, without the blogosphere separating us :O. It's also just great to eat in a kosher restaurant even though it has a be-flowered blue bull idol in the corner. Because if you have an idol in your kosher resaurant in Vancouver, then BCK takes your hekasher away!

So, does it bother anyone else to eat in an establishment named for a Hindu celebration where the "Sun god" is worshipped?

Hung out later in the evening with Ada. She's really fantastic. I wish we lived closer to each other...

Tuesday, August 09, 2005



4 Av

We woke to Maggie's enthusiastic banjo playing this morning (does banjo music ever sound angsty or mournful? Not according to Steve Martin...). She's only had it a few months, but has become quite skilled.

Today I read "Under Crescent & Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages" by Mark R. Cohen, interspersed with writing the "dead sons amud". That would be the list of Haman's sons who we hanged after they all tried to murder us. Pictures to follow...

We bid goodbye to Maggie & headed to New Rochelle, NY, where we had din at Eden Wok with Ada, Michelle & Nathan. They had a glatt 9 daze menu, so Joel & I shared this whole fish that was decorated like a floating ferry boat. Ada & us two went back to her place & hung out with her & the cat later.

What a lovely day, B"H.

Monday, August 08, 2005



3 Av


I Wrote more Megilah today :D
(note large letter Chet in the name "Choor")
Obviously, the illustration is still in process, as I am "building" it. Stay posted for more pictures as the art unfolds.

We mostly took it easy, generally sorted out our lives. Processed Kallah & Elat Chayyim.

Later we went out to dinner with Michael & Becca & Maggie to a funky hekashered veggie restaurant next to Yale. There were other frumelehs inside & everyone on the staff had dreds :)
Becca is amazing & occasionally comments on this blog. Michael is also, particuarly because of his COMIC ART here, here, & he gave Joel & I a copy of "Satisfactory Comics No. 6" featured here!

We just generally talked Torah & caught up on the last year with each other. & a good time was had by all.

Sunday, August 07, 2005



2 Av

I hung out with Akiva, my new buddy, over brunch & just had a fabuous time! He & his family are so wonderful, as in full of wonder, & I feel blessed to have made their acquaintance.

I skipped the Hippy-dippy love-in closing circle. I'm sorry if that sounds disrespectful. It isn't meant to be. It's meant to be an affectionate expression of why Jewish Renewal for 17 days in a row is more than I have room for in my Self. Renewal is doing some very important things in the world, IMHO, & I thank them for that. But for me, the last couple of weeks has brought me a little too much groovadelic universal love. Too much chesed (loving-kindness), not enough gevurah (strength/discernment). I prefer my environment to be more balanced...the river (chesed) does need a riverbank (gevurah) to provide its boundaries. Otherwise, it's not a river.

& We won't have the separation of land from water which G@d made in the beginning of creative-ness. & G@d said this was good.

& look where we'd be if the land was always swamped by the water...
& look if our holy letters (gevurah) were not clearly discernable from the parchment (chesed)...

I don't mean to sound critical, it's just that I've now taught through 10 days of Kallah & a week of Elat Chayyim back to back, & it's just a little too happy-clappy for me. This is why I dip my toes in Renewal & bring what I consider of value in it back with me to my home community: the kavanah (focused intention), the music, & the striving for higher, broader consciousness.

But basically, I'm just an ordinary Orthodox girl...

Today was much like the last day of Kallah - very weird & frenetic. I'm looking forward to getting back to writing in quiet, away from all the intense charisma & demanding personalities. I'd still love to come back & teach here next year, tho' :D
I had terrific students, thank G@d.

We drove through New Paltz on our way east. It's an adorable little college town with that Dutch/French/German settlement feel you find in much of New York State.

We then proceeded to take the wrong route to our friend's place in Connecticut & got lost in Peekskill. The town where the sitcom "Facts of Life" unfolded, with Blair the rich girl, Jo the poor girl, Tootie the African-American girl & Natalie the Jewish girl. Since my next-oldest sister & I went to private school, we made sure we watched it every week. That & "Mork & Mindy".

Anyway, I think Peekskill has changed. A lot.

After a fascinating exchange at the gas station with a local man giving us directions, we picked up kosher Chinese in New Haven & brought it to Adam & Maggie's, where we rested & visited & looked forward to the next leg of the adventure.

Good night.

Saturday, August 06, 2005



Rosh Chodesh Av

In the practice of sofrut, there must be a radical submission to The Law. Deveykut (cleaving to G@d) is a requirement of this service of the People Israel. If one thinks that to be a sofer/et is an exalted, sexy, powerful, elitist position, one cannot perform this task. Any sofer/et who does not accept the responsibility of safeguarding this tradition as humble service is simply indulging in self-pleasure.

There are two ways you can make something Halakhically acceptable in Judaism: you can write a paper all about the exisitng Halakhah, or you can actually start doing the work based on the existing Halakhah. Look at women's aliyot in Orthodoxy, if you want an example. Everyone knew there were Halakhic positions permitting women being honoured with aliyot in front of men. But were we doing it? No! Nobody thought they would see women honoured with aliyot in an Orthodox mechitzah'ed mixed minyan in our generation, but look: Shirah Chadashah, the Leader Minyan, Darchei Noam...

After qidush lunch we celebrated with sheva brakhas in the barn to commemorate the 2-year anniversary of our's also possibly the last time we'll ever get to have sheva brakhas since our 1-year chupah anniversary is next month, G@d willing, kena hora, & all that. & yes, you are Halakhically allowed to celebrate sheva brakhas only on Shabbes during the 9 days. :D
Joel accidentally spilled the red grape juice from our mixed cups over my white linen dress. How fitting.

Only now, after Shabbes, am I learning about the murder of 4 innocents in Shfaram. I am so disappointed & angry & heartbroken for these poor Arab Israelis, as well my sympathy goes out to the parents of their Jewish Israeli murderer.

Shavu'ah tov - may this week not bring bloodshed.

Friday, August 05, 2005



Tamuz 29

A conversation I had with several people today revealed this kernel of truth: rabbis today are more like pastors. They teach but have no idea how to truly poskin.
I mean no disrespect to the education rabbis of various stripes have acquired to earn their title, nor to the rabbis themselves. They certainly are qualified as teachers. & "teacher", is, after all, what "rabbi" means. But I'm serious when I say that institutionalising the rabbanut has robbed it of its human, social quality. A quality necessary to poskin. A quality necessary to integrate Torah & life in this world. A quality requiring rabbis to do teshuvah on their own faults. Which is why many of us reach for our bookshelves when we have a Halakhic question instead of reaching for the phone to make an appointment with our rav...

Later I discussed with Ben Rashba's teshuvah permitting amulets: he ruled that it was permissable to use coins with the image of a lion on it so you could bring down the power of the constellation of Leo onto this coin & use it as an amulet. That's in Teshuvot HaRashba; Minhat Kena'ot see D. Margolit "Chochmey Yisrael KeRofim/The Sages of Israel as Doctors
Rashba & Rambam didn't get on so well, it seems...

Ben & I also looked into RambaN, in his writings on the goat for Azazel, & the commentary on Torah Leviticus by Chavell p. 219-220.

If the sofrut tradition dictates that a sofer begin each day by writing the name of Amaleq (may his name be erased) on a scrap & then crossing it out in order to remind us to never behave toward anyone the way the Amaleqites behaved toward us, that's superstition.
If G@d says to take a billy goat & wrap a red thread around its horns & put all the sins of the entire nation on it & then push it over a cliff, that isn't magic. That's a mitzvah.

Shabbat Shalom.

Thursday, August 04, 2005



Tamuz 28

Class went very well again today! YAY!
I'm quite fond of this group of students. They're bright & eager to do good work & not pressuring me too badly to veer from the course curriculum (Hebrew calligraphy & midrash on the Alefbet) & leap into teaching them sofrut.
(sigh of relief)

At lunch Ben & R' Dave Ingber & I were making jokes about how angrily Rambam declared: "Ayn mazal l'Yisrael!" (there is no star over Israel, ie, Jews shouldn't believe in astrology, because it's bupkes & doesn't apply to us...

A little known fact came up in this conversation: Rambam's grandson, Ovadiyah Maimonides ben Avraham ben HaRambam, converted to Sufism. Yeah, that's right. Everyone makes such a big deal about how the German-Jewish philosopher, Moses Mendelssohn, had a Jewish grandson who was baptized a Christian. What's the agenda here? Who does this very selective view serve? Rambam was only a human, as inteligent & genius-like as he was, & there is no reason to hide that he had a heretic in his family any more than there is a reason to advertise that Mendelssohn had one in his...

Re-hashing George W's changing the name of the "War on Terror" to the "Global Struggle against Violent Extremism"...
So now I suppose what he's doing isn't warlike. It's a Struggle? As in Jihad? As in Kampf? After he goes to jail for his impeachement crimes, he can write a book all about his struggle...

Our human will & desire, passion & conviction can count for an awful lot. This is why our consciousness-raising whether in prayer, meditation or amulets can have influence. This is not a heretical statement. We have plenty of traditional sources which indicate that HaShem is always looking for intercessors to upset the system which G@d has set up.
I later had a chevruta over Sefer Mishnat HaSofer (which handily includes Qeset HaSofer & Lishkat HaSofer...) because I make time to review everything I have learned to earn my "soferet" designation. It's a vital exercise & fulfills the mitzvah of talmud Torah, so barukh HaShem.

Moti Fuchs is an amazing Israeli cantor from Queens who was doing mincha today in alternating Ashkenazi accents. I'm quite serious. He switched from hungarian to Galitzianer to G@d knows what with precision & skill. Possibly one of the most freylich (joyful) services I've ever seen in my life. Buy his cds.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005



Tamuz 27

I'm already receiving very positive feedback on my class, after only one day, barukh HaShem!

There are some younger people who want to join up - here with their parents - who wish to take my class. It's very flattering & quite happymaking, all this enthusiasm, but I close my classes as of the first day. We move quickly & have an awful lot of material to cover, so I look forward to welcoming them next time.

One of my beginner-students is agitating to learn how to write mezuzot in the remaining 2 days of classes. I explained that the laws of mezuzot are fantastically involved & require personal mentoring over much more time than we actually have.

I complemented one of the women in the dining room on her outfit at lunch. "Nice dress", I said with a smile. She replied with, "Thanks - but it's a bit revealing..."
I thought this was an odd response, particularly when she always wears short, sleeveless dresses in the summer, but then I remembered a brief exchange we had yesterday:
"Aviel, do you wear long sleeves for reasons of modesty?"
"Yes." I smiled.
Such is our experience of those afraid thery are being judged negatively by we who adhere more stringently. She doesn't mind the style of this dress, otherwise she wouldn't have put it on this morning. Just because I wouldn't make the same choice of garb, that doesn't mean it offends me. I wish we could all get along without making negative assumptions...
...G@d willing, before Moshiach comes...

This afternoon while Joel was in class with R' Gafni, I hung out with Benny - he's the evil genius who writes this blog.
We talked about the works of R' Dr Martin Samuel Cohen & R' Marc-Alain Ouaknin, his fellow geniuses, & conspired that I facilitate his getting in touch with them both ( I have connexions). Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to introduce random Jewish geniuses to each other...

We also discussed Jewish amulets (he's writing his doctoral dissertation on them) & astrology. I missed our talks :)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005



Tamuz 26

First Day of class with my new group went very well indeed. It's a smaller crowd, which is good, because we can all move through the Alefbet easier that way & I'm able to give my students more personal attention to their letter forms. I have a professional visual artist as well as a fabric artist in my class this time, who are very exciting to work with as they have specific goals for incorporation of what I teach them in their work life. Hidur Mitzvah (beautifying mitzvot) is an important occupation, so I'm only too happy to help...

Of course, this is Elat Chayyim, so I realised once we had learned the necessary otiyot that some of my talmidim were happily writing G@d's name on their practice sheets. This inspired my friendly yet firm talk on when & where & how we write G@d's name & just who is allowed to do that. They listened, but I'm not sure they all heard.

I walked to Accord in my flip-flops (don't try this at home, kids), which took an hour in the boiling afternoon - & another hour on the way back. I'd underestimated the distance, the temperature & the humidity outside, so it was more than I'd bargained for. The cool, dark river with its waterfall just along the road by Elat Chayyim looked & smelled so inviting in this summer heat, but I resisted as there were several young men by the bridge.

I saw a huge, silver merkavah suspended from the branch of a tree in the front yard of a 19th century church. Quite a thing to meditate on.

Monday, August 01, 2005



Tamuz 25

It's BC Day, a stat (civic) holiday at home. Just another chol here in the US of A. I miss Canada already.

At Elat Chayyim, after the teachers' meeting I attended, I was savouring the quiet time that followed the rigourous drum & dance circle (which I did not participate in). A young man tells me he is making himself a tallis with milkweed tzitzit. He wants me to teach him how to make vegan tefilin & of course I have no idea how. You know, all animal-rights concerns aside, Torah is a visceral thing, & I believe that using viscera to bring it into the world of physicality, of Asiyah, is a powerful action. It reminds us that the place where we work with Torah to manifest its revelation through ourselves is in our guts.

Our very core.

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