There is a Jewish tradition of immersing in a 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.
before Rosh HashanahThe Jewish New Year, also considered the Day of Judgment. The period of the High Holidays is a time of introspection and atonement. The holiday is celebrated with the sounding of the shofar, lengthy prayers in synagogue, the eating of apples and honey, and round challah for a sweet and whole year. Tashlikh, casting bread on the water to symbolize the washing away of sins, also takes place on Rosh Hashana.
and 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 High Holidays. This is an opportunity to prepare oneself spiritually to enter a time of renewal. Immersion can take place in a mikveh or other body of water, depending on your style of Jewish observance.
You may prepare for the ritual with a song, such as “Return Again,” by Shlomo Carlebach
As I immerse,
May I open to the possibility of forgiveness.
May my entry into these waters mark my intention to forgive myself,
Forgive others, and ask others to forgive me.
May my resistance to this task be dissolved by these healing waters.
Hear my prayer, God.
May I have the courage and clarity to engage
In the process of repentance and teshuvah.
Blessed are you, Majestic Spirit of the Universe, who makes us holy by embracing us in living waters.
For all my wrongs, O God of compassion and forgiveness,
Forgive me and help me to forgive myself and others,
Wiping the slate clean, renewing me,
And returning me to the land of my soul.
Source of all Life,
In Your oneness, I find healing and wholeness.
May I return to my true self and be strengthened as I continue my journey of tikkun ha-lev, repairing my heart,
tikkun ha-nefesh, repairing my soul,
and tikkun olamLit. Repair of the world According to Jewish mysticism, the world is in a broken state. Humanity's job is to join God, as God's partners, in its repair.
, doing my part in repairing the world.
Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha’olam shehekheyanu v’kimanu v’higianu la’zman hazeh.
Blessed are you, Source of Life, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.