Tuesday, October 13, 2009


When writing Torah, the sofer is supposed to speak each word before writing it.* The speech somehow causes the essence of the words to waft through the air in holy, mystical fashion and settle onto the parchment, to be followed in short order by the letters themselves. Like spreading rose petals before a bride, if you will.

Today I was writing down at Yeshivat Hadar. I like writing Torah in places of Torah in general, but today it so happened that while I was writing, the group was listening to Rabbi Held talking.

It's always worth listening to Rabbi Held talking (PLUG FOR OCTOBER 21 EVENT), he's the sort of person you ought to want to be when you grow up, but today in particular - I was listening with a quarter of an ear because I was mostly concentrating on writing Torah - he was talking about making your Torah study lead to being a better person. How learning Torah ought to be allied with becoming a better, kinder, more present person. About how all of Torah is fundamentally a set of pointers towards getting more chesed - loving-kindness - into the world. How chesed is and can be all-pervading and enough.

Mix that in with the image of the sofer's articulated words settling onto the parchment. This afternoon I think all that chesed in the air must have settled onto the parchment as well, how could it not have? Layers and layers of chesed, and then the breathed words, and then the written words.

I thought it was a nice image.***

* Keset ha-Sofer 4:6
** Except richer and better, but I was only listening with a quarter of an ear, so I can't give more details, sorry; go hear R' Held if you get the chance
*** I was writing the bit about the Sin of the Golden Calf at the time. You tell me how that plays out!

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