Blessings for Gender Transitioning

The first blessing refers to God as the “Transforming One”—”Ha’Ma’avir“—sharing the root of the word Ivrim (Hebrews). Jews are Ivrim—the “crossing over” people—because we “crossed over” the Jordan River into Canaan to escape our oppression in Egypt, and we spiritually “transformed” ourselves. (In Modern Hebrew, this verb root is used to form the word ma’avar,” which means among other things to “transition genders.”)

To be recited before any moment of transition:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הַמַּעֲבִיר אֶת הָעוֹבְרִים

Barukh Ata Adonai Eloheinu Melekh Ha-Olam, Ha’Ma’avir et ha’Ovrim.

Blessed are You, Eternal One, our God, Ruler of Time and Space, the Transforming One to those who transition/transform/cross over.

The second blessing is adapted from liberal morning liturgy. The Midrash (classical Jewish exegesis) says that the first human being was an androgynos, an intersex person—implying that all bodies and genders are created in God’s image—whether we are male, female, transgender, intersex or something else. When we take steps, physically or spiritually, to more fully manifest our gender identities, we are fulfilling the commandment “to partner with God in completing the work of creation.”

To be recited afterwards:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁעָשָׂנִי בְּצַלְמוֹ וְכִרְצוֹנָה

Barukh Ata Adonai Eloheinu Melekh Ha-Olam Sh’asani B’tzalmo v’kirtzonah.

Blessed are You, Eternal One, our God, Ruler of Time and Space, Who has made me in His image and according to Her will.

The final blessing is the traditional Shehechiyanu prayer, recited when we experience something new or reach a milestone.  Saying this prayer at moments of transition celebrates God’s nurturing and sustaining presence in allowing us to reach this point of self-transformation. This blessing is in the plural (“us” instead of “me”) and it also expresses the hope that we are collectively transitioning as a people: to honor and celebrate the lives of people of all genders.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמָן הַזֶּה

Barukh Ata Adonai Eloheinu Melekh Ha-Olam Sh’hechianu, v’kiyimanu, v’higiyanu, la-zman hazeh.

Blessed are You, Eternal One, our God, Ruler of Time and Space, who has kept us alive and sustained us and helped us to arrive at this moment.


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