A Prayer for a Child: to be recited before entering the mikveh

Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin

El Male Rachamim, God full of mercy, with an overflowing heart I approach the waters of the mikveh*, gathered from the rain sent here from the heavens. Let these waters rush strong against my body, washing away all sadness and sorrow, all worries and fears. Let them refresh my soul and restore my strength.

God, as my cycle begins anew, let these coming weeks be a time of rejoicing; let this month be the season of our dreams come true. Let our house be filled with promise and joy, with the rays of Your radiance shining upon us. It is to You we turn, God; in You we trust.

Barukh Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha'olam, asher kiddeshanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu al hatevilah.

Blessed are You, God of all creation, who sanctifies us through Your commandments and commands us regarding immersion.

* Mikveh means ritual bath. Traditionally, married women use the mikveh at the end of their monthly period, prior to resuming sexual relations with their husbands. Today, women have reclaimed the mikveh for a variety of other uses for healing, celebrating and mourning.

Excerpt from Tears of Sorrow, Seeds of Hope, 1999 by Nina Beth Cardin (Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights Publishing). $19.95 + $3.75 s/h. Order by mail or call 800-962-4544 or on-line at www.jewishlights.com. Permission granted by Jewish Lights Publishing, PO Box 237, Woodstock, VT 05091. http://www.jewishlights.com