Tradition & Innovation

B’rakhah for Entering Gender Confirming Surgery

By Rabbah Rona Matlow
Person wrapped in purple tallit sitting on a bench meditating before their own reflection in a lake

Thursday March 1, 2018 is an auspicious day. Jews around the world celebrate our liberation from Haman as we celebrate the Festival of Purim. For me, it will be a momentous day for another reason.

I will be having my Gender Confirming Surgery (GCS) on March 1st. While not every transgender person seeks this type of procedure to feel a sense of completion, many of us do.

I was asked by a colleague whether I had a b’rakhah for entering my surgery. I did not, but I contemplated this question and came to a conclusion. As we are told in Sefer Bereshit, we are created b’tzelem Elokim, in God’s image. Just as God does acts of creation continually, we are God’s partner in this work.

So, for instance, an infant born with a heart defect might have heart surgery to correct it. This is a human act that completes God’s creation of this precious child.

For transgender people, we are created with a soul, mind, brain, that does not match the gender our bodies are assigned at birth. In order to sustain, to save our lives, we transition genders. For those of us who seek GCS, this is one of the most important acts we do in completing our creation in partnership with the Shekhinah who gave us the spirit of life. So in that spirit, the b’rakhot I will say before starting the surgery will be:

.ברוכה את י'ה, רוח חי העולמים, אשר קידשנו במצוותיה, וציונו לתקין ולשלם את הגוף

.ברוכה את י'ה, רוח חי העולמים, עושה מעשה בראשית

Blessed are You, Yah, the Spirit of Life in the universe, who sanctifies us with Her commandments and commanded us to repair and complete the body.

Blessed are You, Yah, the Spirit of Life in the universe, who carries out the acts of creation.

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