Thank you, G-d, for having made me as a man, a sower of seeds, a husbandman (as in “husbandry,” one who helps to till and cultivate the soil) and nurturer to my loving partner, to our children & to the land we live on, and a reflection of your image.
Thank You, G-d, for having made me as a woman, fertile like the mother earth, husbandwoman and nurturer to my loving partner, to our children & to the land we live on, and a reflection of your image.
Eight years ago we slept in the park across the street. That night I wished upon a shooting star that I would have your children and marry you. Now, across the street from this same park, we stand by our own garden and reflect. This is the garden that you, Sasha, have cultivated with your own hands through many months of hard work. It is lush with vegetables and herbs. Now we can enjoy the harvest of delicious foods on our table. Together, partnering with the Divine Source, we have planted the seeds and cultivated the land to bring forth fruits from the earth.
For 7 years I have either been pregnant or nursing. We marvel at our three small children, their strong personalities so eager with inquisitive questions, senses of humor, feisty mischief and sweet, loving compassion. Our family feels whole.
On the seventh day, the Holy One rested and observed all that had been created.
[Dig a hole in the earth by our garden.]
Seeds: Both the fig and the pomegranate (of which we have many artistic representations in our home), so full of seeds, often symbolize fertility. They are both Biblical fruits. The leaf of a fig tree is well known from the Genesis story. It is also said that there are as many seeds in the pomegranate as there are commandments in the TorahThe Five Books of Moses, and the foundation of all of Jewish life and lore. The Torah is considered the heart and soul of the Jewish people, and study of the Torah is a high mitzvah. The Torah itself a scroll that is hand lettered on parchment, elaborately dressed and decorated, and stored in a decorative ark. It is chanted aloud on Mondays, Thursdays, and Shabbat, according to a yearly cycle. Sometimes "Torah" is used as a colloquial term for Jewish learning and narrative in general.. This is a symbolic, poetic metaphor—may we continue to find poetry in our lives, especially in the many mundane moments that fill our days.
[Break open fig and pomegranate. Spill the seeds into the whole we have dug in the ground.]
Blood: As it says in the Prophet Ezekiel: “Live in your blood and grow like a plant in the field.”
[Plant placenta with our bare hands.]
As we return this placenta—which nourished our third child brought into this world—to the soil that in turn feeds us, we mark the completion of our own active role in the cycle of pro-creation and the circle of life.
May our children, should they choose to do so, be fruitful and multiply when they grow up. Tomorrow’s vasectomy, the closing of the vas deferens, the duct that carries the seed of male energy to the outside world, is like the Neilah service on Yom KippurThe holiest day of the Jewish year and the culmination of a season of self-reflection. Jews fast, abstain from other worldly pleasures, and gather in prayers that last throughout the day. Following Ne'ilah, the final prayers, during which Jews envision the Gates of Repentance closing, the shofar is sounded in one long blast to conclude the holy day. It is customary to begin building one's sukkah as soon as the day ends., the holiest day of the Jewish year. Neilah is the period during the concluding service when we recall the period of the
Blessed are You, G-d, Creator of all things, Who created our bodies with various openings and voids. You know well that if any of them were blocked or ruptured we would not be able to stand before Your awesome presence. Blessed are You, YahA name for God, as in "halleluyah" – praise God. Some people prefer this name for God as a non-gendered option., Who brings forth life and returns it to the source.
[Sound the shofar]
Water: We actively embrace the tradition of immersing oneself in the waters of the mikvehThe ritual bath. The waters of the mikveh symbolically purify – they are seen as waters of rebirth. A convert immerses in the mikveh as part of conversion. Many Orthodox married women go to the mikveh following their period and before resuming sexual relations. Couples go to the mikveh before being married. Many, including some men, immerse before Yom Kippur; some go every Friday before Shabbat. to symbolize our connection to the Holy Waters of Life, to remind us of the Divine sparks in each of us that give us life, and that have played a major role in our act of pro-creating.
We also see water as a symbol of change, flowing and moving. The Iggeret HaKodesh (The Holy Letter), a 13th-century treatise on sexuality often ascribed to Nahmanides, states that “One should know that sexual union is holy and pure when it is done as it should be, at the time it should be, and with proper intent.” May the Holy One Who is Blessed, Who knows all the inner thoughts and meditations of our hearts, help us rejoice in our union and in our many-faceted sexualities.
May our relationship, our joy and our marital intimacy continue to grow as we make this decision to complete the cycle of procreation and celebrate that our family feels whole and complete.
Baruch Atah HashemLit. The Name, referring to the ineffable name of God; used as a substitute for any of the more sacred names of God when not speaking in prayer. Particularly used in conversation., Elokenu Mayan HaChayim, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al hatevilah.
Blessed are You, Our God, Well-spring Source of Life, Who has blessed us with the commandment to immerse ourselves (in the mikveh waters).
[Immerse in mikveh]