Intention – KavannahLit. Intention Refers both to one’s intention when performing a mitzvah or when focusing for prayer. Kavanah also refers to specific readings to help focus one's attention prior to performing an act.
To be read before preparing for immersion:
Just as the Israelites stood at the shores of the Red Sea,
I prepare to immerse in 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. as part of my own journey toward freedom.
Immersion – T’vilahThe act of immersion in the ritual bath (mikveh).
FIRST IMMERSION—LEAVING EGYPT
Read before you immerse for the first time:
I acknowledge the narrow places in my life,
the ones I have come through and those yet ahead of me.
Slowly descend the steps into the mikveh waters, take a breath and immerse completely so that every part of
your body is covered by the warm water. When you emerge recite the following blessing:
Barukh atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melekh ha’olam asher kidshanu bi-t’vilah b’mayyim hayyim.
Blessed are You, God, Majestic Spirit of the Universe
who makes us holy by embracing us in living waters.
Read before you immerse for the second time:
Our ancestor Nachshon showed courage by stepping into waters yet un-parted.
I, too, claim courage in the unknown and immerse a second time for hope.
Take a deep breath and exhale, while gently and completely immersing for the second time.
THIRD IMMERSION—SPRINGTIME RENEWAL
Read before you immerse for the third time:
As the buds unfurl in spring, I honor the renewal and new growth within me.
Relax, and let your body soften, as you slowly and completely immerse for the third time.
FOURTH IMMERSION—PERSONAL REFLECTION
Take a moment for personal reflection.
Immerse completely for the fourth time.
When you emerge recite the following:
Rooted in my people’s history, I emerge from these living waters,
ready to take my place in our continuing quest for freedom.
Created by Mayyim Hayyim Ritual Creation Team, 2004. This ceremony was created by Matia Rania Angelou, Deborah Issokson, and JudithJudith saved her people by seducing Holofernes, the enemy general, and then decapitating him. The story of Judith, found in the apocrypha, is associated with Chanukah (relating to the tradition of eating cheese dishes because she seduced the general and fed him dairy). Her Hebrew name is Yehudit. D. Kummer for Mayyim Hayyim Living Waters.