Mikveh Ritual for Caregivers

To be sung, chanted, or said while preparing for mikveh:  

Psalm 121

אֶשָּׂא עֵינַי, אֶל-הֶהָרִים
מֵאַיִן מֵאַיִן יָבֹא עֶזְרִי

עֶזְרִי, מֵעִם יְהוָה
עֹשֵׂה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ

Esa einai el heharim,
me’ayin me’ayin yavo ezri

Ezri me’im Adonai
Oseh shamayim va’aretz

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains.
From where does my help come?

My help comes from Adonai,
who made heaven and earth.

To be said before the first immersion:

Shekhinah, we live in a broken world, and the light gets in through the cracks. I come seeking this light and I come seeking lightness. I have opened my heart to the suffering of others and I am heavy with their voices. Help me release this darkness and pain, help me discover a shelter of peace within so that I may open the shelter of my heart again to those who are in need.

Slowly descend the steps into the mikveh waters and immerse completely so that every part of your body is covered in the buoyant, healing water. Meditate on one story or memory with each of the seven steps into the water. Release that memory before you take the next step.

Following the first immersion, envision the stories you are holding, see them floating out of your fingertips, your toes, your elbows, your chest. The words, faces, and voices swirl in the water around you.

Before immersing a second time, say:
Shekhinah, I come seeking courage. The courage to combat despair, the courage to find sparks of light in each moment of suffering, and the courage to ask others for help when I can no longer see the sparks in the darkness.

The stories swirling around you begin to fade into the water, imbuing the water with a soft, healing light.

Before third immersion, say:
Shekhinah, I come seeking the sacred balance of hesed (lovingkindness) and gevurah (strength). Sustain my empathy as I create the distance I need for my own healing. Help me hold onto light as I release the suffering that has taken root in my heart. Teach me about tiferet (harmony). Teach me that letting go, like holding on, is an act of love.


Following the third immersion, say:

Blessed are you, Shekhinah, Healer of Healers, who makes us whole and holy by embracing us in living waters.

The stories swirling around you have completely faded into the water now. You may wish to float for awhile in the lightness around you.

When you are ready, emerge from the water and say:

In the book of life and blessing, wholeness and healing, may I, with all Your people, be inscribed for a good life, a life of shalom – wholeness and peace.

Heather Paul is the Camp Kesem Director and Director of Student Engagement at Hillel at Stanford. Read Heather’s story behind the creation of this ritual on the Ritualwell blog.

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