A Ritual Following a Get

Transitions are often very difficult in life. It is probably for this reason that I have always loved the ritual of Havdalah, which I experience as acknowledging the abrupt transition from the rhythm of Shabbat to the uncertainty of the coming week. When I got divorced, I used Havdalah as inspiration for creating my own ritual after taking the Get. I wanted to acknowledge this difficult time in my life with loving friends. Inspired by Rabbi Naomi Levy’s book Talking to God, I composed a booklet of blessings, songs and readings that bring me comfort. Though it was not a Saturday night, I invited close friends to join me. First, we ate. Then we sang the first paragraph of Havdalah together. We passed wine and spices around with blessings, hoping for a joyful, sweet and renewed year ahead. Since this ceremony came just before Rosh Hashanah, the themes of reflection and renewal in the readings were timely and relevant. Instead of moving from light to darkness with a candle, I offered my own blessing of separation: “…Please guide me in transitioning between darkness and light; between pain, anguish, anxiety to comfort, peace, hope and love.” This ritual provided a language for me to reflect on the painful time and hope for strength in the uncertainty ahead. I learned many are often uncertain how to respond to divorce, as it is both very private and public. This gave my friends access to comfort and support me. I am grateful for the opportunity to share this with others in need

Prayers and blessings

הִנֵּה אֵל יְשׁוּעָתִי, אֶבְטַח וְלֹא אֶפְחָד,כִי עָזִּי וְזִמְרָת יָהּ ה’, וַיְהִי לִי לִישׁוּעָה:
וּשְׁאַבְתֶּם מַיִם בְּשָׂשׂוֹן מִמַּעַיְנֵי הַיְשׁוּעָה:
לה’הַיְשׁוּעָה עַל עַמְּךָ בִרְכָתֶךָ סֶּלָה:
ה’צְבָאוֹת עִמָּנוּ מִשְׂגָּב לָנוּ אֱלֹהֵי יַעֲקֹב סֶלָה:
ה’צְבָאוֹת אַשְרֵי אָדָם בֹּטֵחַ בָּךְ:
ה’הוֹשִׁיעָה הַמֶּלֶךְ יַעֲנֵנוּ בְיוֹם קָרְאֵנוּ:
לַיְּהוּדִים הָיְתָה אוֹרָה וְשִׂמְחָה וְשָׂשׂוֹן וִיקָר: כֵּן תִּהְיֶה לָּנוּ.
כּוֹס יְשׁוּעוֹת אֶשָּׂא. וּבְשֵׁם ה’אֶקְרָא:

Behold, God is my salvation. I will trust and not be afraid. For God is my strength and my song and God has become (will be) my salvation. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. Rescue belongs to God; May Your blessing be upon Your people. The Lord of armies is with us, a fortress for us, Jacob’s God. O Lord of armies, happy the man who trusts in You. God, save us! May the king answer us on the day we call. For the Jews there was light, happiness, joy and honor—so be it for us! I will lift the cup of salvation and call in the name of God.

Wine: God, may you please bring us times of joy, happiness… (A blessing for wine.)

Spices. May our year be filled with sweetness. Let this smell of comfort fill my spirit with comfort, renewal and hope. (A blessing for spices.)

From darkness to light: A blessing for separation: God, who separates Kodesh and Chol – the holy and the mundane – – please guide me in transitioning between darkness and light, between pain, anguish, anxiety to comfort, peace, hope and love.

Songs to include in the ritual

 שחר אבקשך: שלמה אבן גבירול

שחר אבקשך צורי ומשגבי
     אערוך לפניך שחרי וגם ערבי
לפני גדולתך אעמוד ואבהל
     כי עינך תראה כל מחשבות לבי

מה-זה אשר יוכל הלב והלשון
     לעשות ומה כח רוחי בתוך קרבי
הנה לך תיטב זמרת אנוש על כל
     אודך בעוד תהיה נשמת אלוה בי

At dawn I seek You, my Rock, my Shelter;
     I offer You my dawn and evening prayers.
Before Your greatness I stand and I tremble,
     Because Your eye can see all the thoughts of my heart [mind].

What is there that the heart [mind] and tongue [mouth]
     Can do? What is the power of the spirit within me?
Behold, the songs of man delight You; therefore I
     Will praise You while I still have the breath of God within me.

מי יתנני עוף: דוד שמעוני

Who will give me wings?
A bird with a little wing.
 Wandering eternally.
How my soul has suffered.

מי יתנני עוף 
צפור כנף קטנה 
בנדודי אינסוף 
נפשי מה מתענה

Psalms 30:9, 11

Unto Thee, O LORD, did I call, and unto the LORD I made supplication

Hear, O LORD, and be gracious unto me; LORD, be Thou my helper

:אֶתְחַנָּן אֲדֹנָי וְאֶל אֶקְרָא יְהוָה אֵלֶיךָ

לִי עֹזֵר הֱיֵה יְהוָה וְחָנֵּנִי יְהוָה שְׁמַע


Psalm 23

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me

עִמָּדִי אַתָּה יכִּ רָע אִירָא לֹא צַלְמָוֶת בְּגֵיא אֵלֵךְ כִּי גַּם


Readings that can be included in ritual

Exodus 15:2

The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become (He will become) my salvation


לִישׁוּעָה לִי וַיְהִי יָהּ וְזִמְרָת עָזִּי


Psalms 116:16

I beseech Thee, O LORD, for I am Thy servant;
I am Thy servant, the son of Thy handmaid; Thou hast loosed my bands.

עַבְדֶּךָ אֲנִי כִּי יְהוָה אָנָּה

לְמוֹסֵרָי פִּתַּחְתָּ אֲמָתֶךָ בֶּן עַבְדְּךָ אֲנִי

Isaiah 56:7

Even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer; their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices
Shall be acceptable upon Mine altar;
For My house shall be called a house of prayer For all peoples

והביאותים אל הר קודשי

ושמחתי בבית תפילתי

עולותיהם וזבחיהם

לרצון על מזבחי

כי ביתי בית תפילה

יקרא לכל העמים


From Your place, our King, You will appear
Reign over us, for we await You.
When will You reign in Zion?
Soon, in our days – forever and ever – may You dwell there. May You be exalted and sanctified Within Jerusalem, Your city,
From generation to generation
and for all eternity.
May our eyes see Your kingdom,
As it is expressed in the songs of Your might, written by David, Your righteous anointed.

ממקומך מלכנו תופיע

ותמלוך עלינו כי מחכים אנחנו לך

מתי תמלוך בציון

בקרוב בימנו לעולם ועד תשכון. תתגדל ותתקדש בתוך ירושלים עירך

לדור ודור (לדור ודור)

ולנצח נצחים

ועינינו תראינה (תראינה) מלכותך

כדבר האמור בשירי עוזך

על ידי דוד משיח צדקך


Psalm 23

A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד ה’ רֹעִי לֹא אֶחְסָר

He make sme to lie down in green pastures; He leadsme beside the still waters.

בִּנְאוֹת דֶּשֶׁא יַרְבִּיצֵנִי עַל מֵי מְנֻחוֹת יְנַהֲלֵנִי

He restores my soul; He guidesme in straight paths for His name’s sake.

נַפְשִׁי יְשׁוֹבֵב יַנְחֵנִי בְמַעְגְּלֵי צֶדֶק לְמַעַן שְׁמוֹ

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me;

גַּם כִּי אֵלֵךְ בְּגֵיא צַלְמָוֶת לֹא אִירָא רָע כִּי אַתָּה עִמָּדִי

Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.

שִׁבְטְךָ וּמִשְׁעַנְתֶּךָ הֵמָּה יְנַחֲמֻנִי

Prepare a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;

תַּעֲרֹךְ לְפָנַי שֻׁלְחָן נֶגֶד צֹרְרָי

Thou hast anointed my head with oil; my cup runsover.

דִּשַּׁנְתָּ בַשֶּׁמֶן רֹאשִׁי כּוֹסִי רְוָיָה

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; 

אַךְ טוֹב וָחֶסֶד יִרְדְּפוּנִי כָּל יְמֵי חַיָּי

And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

וְשַׁבְתִּי בְּבֵית ה’ לְאֹרֶךְ יָמִים

Prayer upon Separating
Creator of the universe, who witnesses the transformation of life, guide me during this moment of release from my marriage. Please help me to learn from the past so that I may grow now and in the future. I seek comfort from You during this time, saddened by what could not be. May I be granted the strength to seek a new life based on love, joy, trust and peace. May God, who brings peace to the universe, bring peace to us and to all the people of Israel.

Excerpt from Psalm 51
Create for me a clean heart, God;
And renew a spirit inside me.
Cast me not away from Your presence;
And do not take Your holy spirit from me
Restore to me the joy of your saving presence.

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