I was really excited! I had had my first lesson! I now also had the money to pay for the lessons ahead. I saw good things ahead! It seems however, that it wasn’t to be… Within a week, my teacher had got sick. It looked like he wouldn’t be able to teach me. Unfortunately he was to leave this world from the disease. Not knowing how bad he was at the time, I still waited hoping that thing would improve, though they didn’t! It was a loss for all of us, as I look back and realise that had I only been able to complete my studies with him, I think I would already be writing successfully. In fact, I would have been writing within a couple of months tops! I know that it was definitely his joy to see the pupils he had made – and I am sure he would have felt proud at being responsible for turning me into a Sofer too.
I was finally going to get started studying! I’d found a teacher! Now, let’s be clear – it’s not that there are no teachers around. There must surely be 100 000 Sofrim worldwide. There must surely be a school of sorts…
Randy Wagner might have seemed crazy – but he knew what he was doing!
Can you imagine what life was like during the Generation of the Flood? People were going about life as usual, while a lone man spent a year building a massive ark. People would walk by and laugh, “What are you doing Noach?” they would ask. And Noach would tell them, “I’m building an ark. A flood will be coming soon and it will destroy the entire world!”
I often become startled – if not embarrassed when I find myself around those who hate to give. Pirkei Avot 5:13 teaches us that there are four types of givers. There is one who wishes to give but that others should not. He begrudges others! There is one who believes that others should give, but that he does not have to. He begrudges himself! There is one who gives and believes that others should give too. He is a Chassid (pious person)! Finally there is one who believes that he does not have to give, nor should others. He is wicked! When I find a situation of someone asking for help (especially a person dressed in rags – God forbid) other than considering my own responsibility to give, I find myself reciting this Mishnah. Indeed, the Mishnah is telling us the truth!
Once upon a time, two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side-by-side, sharing machinery and trading labor and goods as needed without a hitch. Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a…
Though still teaching via Skype (from this website) and being involved in some other Torah projects, I felt that I needed some other type of career path. I was looking for something more stable in terms of earning a regular income. Living in Israel is not so simple! Making Aliyah over the age of 30 brings with it tremendous tests in terms of one’s finances! Those who don’t take the “dive” to come to live in Israel, lack an awareness of just how difficult it is to earn a proper income here. Continue reading “My Journey to Become a Sofer – Part 4 – Finding a Teacher”
I hope that my posts about my story to becoming a Sofer will also be of aid to those who may be wishing to learn the art of Sofrut. In fact, the journey is not an easy one. If one doesn’t know where to start, then there’s not much of a beginning! One finds oneself wondering what to even do! My own journey started out with a lack of knowledge of knowing what to do. It then developed into a “better idea of things.” Thereafter it seemed like things could still improve, but I’d find out later that I had chosen the wrong path!
The Baal Shem Tov teaches: The 42 journeys of Bnei Yisrael from Egypt to the Land of Israel are a reflection of the 42 journeys that each person experiences throughout their lives…
I remember when I was coming closer to Yiddishkeit (i.e. following in accordance with the laws of Judaism and really becoming aware of what being Jewish is all about). I obtained a beautiful book written in English. “The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet” by Michael Munk. It is all about the Hebrew letters. Based upon the Gemara Shabbat 104a, it discusses at length the wisdom behind the letters, their meaning, and the reasons behind their shapes. That Gemara in Shabbat is absolutely fascinating! It’s not supposed to be read at just face value!
Rabbi Meir said, “When I came to Rabbi Yishmael, he said to me, ‘My son, what work do you do?’ I said to him, ‘I am a Sofer (scribe).’ He said to me, ‘My son, be careful with your work, because your work is the work of Heaven. Maybe you will leave out a letter, or add an unnecessary additional letter. Consequently, you will destroy the entire world!'” (Gemara Eiruvin 13)