Ceremony for Immersion
By Rabbi Barbara Rosman Penzner and Rabbi Amy Joy Small | Complete Ceremony
Now, as I immerse myself, I begin a new cycle, a cycle of rebirth and renewal of Your world and Your people Israel. I prepare for my new life and for the sanctification of that life through kiddushin, Your holy state of marriage.
Prayer Before Immersion
Our mothers Rebekah and Rachel were betrothed and began new lives at the gently flowing waters of the well (Gen. 24 and 29).
Our mother Yocheved gave life to her child Moses in the ever flowing waters of the Nile (Exod. 15).
Our sister Miriam danced for the saving of lives beside the overflowing water of the Sea of Reeds (Exod. 15).
Water is God's gift to living souls, to cleanse us, to purify us, to sustain us, and, to renew us.
As Moses and Aaron and the priests of Israel washed with cleansing waters before attending to God's service at the altar (Exod. 40), so do I now cleanse myself before Your altar of sanctification.
"I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean" (Ezek. 36:25).
As God separated the waters in the first creation (Gen. 1:6), so I ask that You surround me with protecting waters and separate out threatening waters.
"Deliver me, O God, for the waters have reached my neck...I have come into the watery depths; the flood sweeps me away" (Ps. 69:2-3).
As God cleansed the earth with the waters of the Great Flood, making it livable for a new generation (Gen. 8:8), so I pray for renewal and prepare myself for new life.
I am a well of living waters, a garden spring, a stream flowing from the heights of Lebanon (Song. 4:15).
ושאבתם-מים בששון ממעיני הישוע.
"Joyfully shall you draw water from the fountains of salvation" (Isa. 12:3).
I am now prepared
to shed the impurities of my earlier life,
to become one with another life,
to become a creator of new life,
to become a partner in sharing the joys of life,
to teach and to learn in the lessons of married life.
The soul You have given me, my God, is a pure one. You have created and formed it, breathed it into me, and within me You sustain it. So long as I have breath, I am thankful before You, YHVH, my Shekhinah, Shield of my ancestors, Sovereign over all things, Creator of all souls. Praised are You, YHVH, in whose hand is the soul of all life, and the spirit of all humankind.
(based on the translation in The Gates of Prayer)
Praised are You, Shekhinah, Shepherd of all the world, who sanctified us with Her commandments and commanded us concerning immersion.
Originally published in The Reconstructionist, September, 1986; used by permission of the authors.