Ritualwell

Tradition & Innovation

A Pre-March Dip

By Michael Pollack
woman with a megaphone walking with a protest crowd

This ritual was specifically created to be performed before a pro-democracy march (the March on Harrisburg, planned for spring 2017), and can be used in preparation for any march, protest, or rally. It is designed to be done individually by the marcher at the mikveh on the way to the event.


1. Begin by singing Psalm 121 three times.

אֶשָּׂא עֵינַי אֶל הֶהָרִים מֵאַיִן יָבֹא עֶזְרִי ,עֶזְרִי מֵעִם יְהֹוָק עֹשֵׂה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ

2. "I look to the mountains, from where my help will come, my help comes from God, maker of the cosmos and earth."
What mountains? The mountain is the challenge, the walk that you are about to begin. Be driven by the enormity and excitement of the task in front of you.

What mountains? The mountain is Mount Sinai. When God gave us the Torah at Mount Sinai, God held the mountain of history over our heads and said, "Accept or die. Either you remake the law in the vision of the holy, or you will perish in the desert as slaves chained to Pharaoh’s empire." The mountain of history is once again hanging over our heads, waiting to destroy us if we do not choose to renew our covenant with our most sacred ideals.

What mountain? The mountain is the pursuit of holiness and wholeness. Our world is so fractured and isolating. As you march, notice how the divisions, contradictions, and isolations melt away before holiness and wholeness.

3. You will now dip in the mikveh three times. In Judaism, three represents a pattern, a trend, a habit. Through all three dips, you will emerge from the waters with a renewed sense of clarity and comfort. Let all distractions, traces of indifference, and vestiges of mental empire be washed away, and may you emerge with focus and clarity of thought. Let the waters support you, just as God, your community, and strangers will support you through this march.

(Dunk three times then say this brachah):

ברוך אתה יי אלוהינו מלך העולם אשר קדישנו במצותיו וצונו על הטבילה

4. "I look to the mountains, from where my help will come, my help comes from God, maker of the cosmos and earth."
From where does my help come? Your help will emerge from your pursuit of the holy with your other marchers. Back home, you are a flammable twig. On the march, you will be a burning bush. Talk with other marchers. Ask good questions and listen.

From where does my help come? Your help comes from the pilgrimage itself. With each step you take, you are rededicating yourself to a holy cause. With each step, you reach out into the unknown and uncover layers of joyous mystery.

From where does my help come? From God, maker of the cosmos and earth. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said that the meaning of God is that there is meaning beyond mystery and holiness conquers absurdity. Notice how, on the holy march, the absurdity will drip away.

5. Please recite the travelers prayer three times:

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְפָנֶיךָ יְ-יָ אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ וֵא-לֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ. שֶׁתּוֹלִיכֵנוּ לְשָׁלוֹם. וְתַצְעִידֵנוּ לְשָׁלוֹם. וְתַדְרִיכֵנוּ לְשָׁלוֹם. וְתִסְמְכֵנוּ לְשָׁלוֹם. וְתַגִּיעֵנוּ לִמְחוֹז חֶפְצֵנוּ לְחַיִּים וּלְשִׂמְחָה וּלְשָׁלוֹם  תַצִילֵנוּ מִכַּף כָּל-אוֹיֵב וְאוֹרֵב וְלִסְטִים וְחַיּוֹת רָעוֹת בַּדֶּרֶך. וּמִכָּל פֻּרְעָנִיּוֹת הַמִּתְרַגְּשׁוֹת וּבָאוֹת לָעוֹלָם. וְתִשְׁלַח בְּרָכָה בְּכָל מַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ. וְתִתְּנֵנִיּ (בל' יחיד) לְחֵן וּלְחֶסֶד וּלְרַחֲמִים בְּעֵינֶיךָ וּבְעֵינֵי כָל רוֹאֵינוּ. וְתִגְמְלֵנוּ חֲסָדִים טוֹבִים. וְתִשְׁמַע קוֹל תְּפִלָּתֵינוּ. כִּי אַתָּה שׁוֹמֵעַ תְּפִלַת כָּל פֶּה: בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְ-יָ שׁוֹמֵעַ תְּפִלָה:

6. Have fun!

Complete Ceremony

Want the latest news from Ritualwell?

Subscribe to our email list for announcements of new rituals, Jewish inspiration, online classes, and more!

Join our New Ritualwell Network Immersion

Wednesdays, 1pm-2pm EST
Jan. 9, 16, 23
 
Join Rabbi Linda Holtzman in a Ritualwell Network Immersion, an online class exploring Jewish death and mourning rituals. We will explore a range of approaches to creating rituals that help us mark the final journey from this world. Learn more and register.