Choose Life!: Mikveh Immersion Ceremony Before Preventative Mastectomy

By Rabbi Haviva Ner-David
mikveh room with white railing, white chair, and potted plants

Intention – Kavannah

Take a moment to reflect on what brought you to the mikveh today.

Then read aloud:
I come here today to draw strength and healing from the Living Waters,
for my body, my heart and my soul.

As I prepare my body to enter the mikveh,
I also prepare my mind and spirit to release what needs to be released and dissolve what needs to dissolve.

Immersion – T'vilah

To be read at the mikveh’s edge before you enter the water:

Compassionate God,
In Your oneness, I find unity.
With the promise of Your love, I am loved.
Through Your wholeness, I will remain whole.

FIRST IMMERSION
Slowly descend the steps of the mikveh and say:

As I stand here about to immerse in Your Living Waters, I express gratitude for the opportunity to prevent harm to my holy, beautiful body, even if that means having to muster the courage to cut away a part of it. Please, God, help me wear my scars like a badge of courage, a mark of wisdom, and a sign of Your protection. Please, God, help me embrace my transformed body like Your waters embrace me today.

Lower your body into the mikveh waters and immerse completely so that every part of your body is covered in the warm water of the mikveh. When you emerge, recite the following blessing:

Blessed are You, God, Majestic Spirit of the Universe
Who sanctifies our holiness by embracing us in living waters.

Barukh atah, Adonai
Eloheinu, Melekh ha’olam
asher kidshanu bi-t’vilah
b’mayyim hayyim.

ברוך אתה יי אלוהינו מלך העולם אשר קדישנו בטבילה במים החיים

SECOND IMMERSION
To be read before you immerse:

May God heal me, body and soul.
May my anger cease,
May my strength increase,
May my fears be released,
May blessings, love, and joy surround me. Amen.

This is a moment when the heavens are especially open to your prayers.
Take a moment to express your own heart’s prayers.
Take a deep breath and exhale completely, while gently and completely immersing for the second time.
When you emerge, recite the following:

God of All that Is Was and Will Be,
Empower me to face what is and will be.
Bless my choice of life.
Affirm my wholeness.
And be with me, please, while I slumber,
Allowing the healers to do their work,
So that I awake renewed
With the courage to arise and embrace
This new chapter of my life.

ברוכה את י-ה אשר קדישנו במצווה: ״ובחרת בחיים!״

Blessed are you, Yah, who sanctifies us with the commandment: “Choose life!”

THIRD IMMERSION
Relax, and let your body soften,
as you slowly and completely immerse for the third time.
When you emerge, recite the following:

Blessed are You, Source of Life, Who endows humans with the knowledge and skill to invent and invest, and thus invite the healing of one another.

Blessed is the Eternal One
who grants me the ability
to acknowledge my blessings,
the inner peace to give thanks where thanks is due,
the clarity to choose life,
and the strength to arise anew each day.

ברוך אתה יי אלוהינו מלך העולם שהחיינו, וקיימנו, והגיענו לזמן הזה

Blessed are you, Sovereign of the Universe, who gave me life, sustains me, and brought me to this day.

After you emerge from the mikveh:

Escort or Officiant Recites:
Mi she-bei-rakh a-vo-teinu, M'kor ha-bra-khah l'i-mo-tei-nu:
May the Source of strength Who blessed the ones before us, Help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing, And let us say, Amen. May the Source of Life bless ____ the daughter of ________ who is in need of healing, with a refu-ah sh'lei-ma, The renewal of body, The renewal of spirit. And let us say: Amen.

 

A song of ascents.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—

    from where does my help come?
My help comes from God,
    the Creator of heaven and earth.

Who will not let my foot slip—
    You who watch over me will not slumber;
indeed, You who watches over us
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

God watches over me—
    and is my shade at my right hand;
the sun will not harm me by day,
    nor the moon by night.

God will keep me from all harm—
    will watch over my life;
God will watch over my comings and goings
    both now and forever.

A psalm of David.

God is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    God makes me lie down in green pastures,
and leads me beside quiet waters,
     refreshes my soul.
God guides me along the right paths
    for the sake of God.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my greatest challenges.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
I will dwell in your house
    forever.

תהילים פרק קכא

א  שִׁיר, לַמַּעֲלוֹת:
אֶשָּׂא עֵינַי, אֶל-הֶהָרִים--    מֵאַיִן, יָבֹא עֶזְרִי.
ב  עֶזְרִי, מֵעִם יְהוָה--    עֹשֵׂה, שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ.
ג  אַל-יִתֵּן לַמּוֹט רַגְלֶךָ;    אַל-יָנוּם, שֹׁמְרֶךָ.
ד  הִנֵּה לֹא-יָנוּם, וְלֹא יִישָׁן--    שׁוֹמֵר, יִשְׂרָאֵל.
ה  יְהוָה שֹׁמְרֶךָ;    יְהוָה צִלְּךָ, עַל-יַד יְמִינֶךָ.
ו  יוֹמָם, הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ לֹא-יַכֶּכָּה;    וְיָרֵחַ בַּלָּיְלָה.
ז  יְהוָה, יִשְׁמָרְךָ מִכָּל-רָע:    יִשְׁמֹר, אֶת-נַפְשֶׁךָ.
ח  יְהוָה, יִשְׁמָר-צֵאתְךָ וּבוֹאֶךָ--    מֵעַתָּה, וְעַד-עוֹלָם.

תהילים פרק כג

א  מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד:    יְהוָה רֹעִי, לֹא אֶחְסָר.
ב  בִּנְאוֹת דֶּשֶׁא, יַרְבִּיצֵנִי;    עַל-מֵי מְנֻחוֹת יְנַהֲלֵנִי.
ג  נַפְשִׁי יְשׁוֹבֵב;    יַנְחֵנִי בְמַעְגְּלֵי-צֶדֶק, לְמַעַן שְׁמוֹ.
ד  גַּם כִּי-אֵלֵךְ בְּגֵיא צַלְמָוֶת, לֹא-אִירָא רָע--    כִּי-אַתָּה עִמָּדִי;
שִׁבְטְךָ וּמִשְׁעַנְתֶּךָ,    הֵמָּה יְנַחֲמֻנִי.
ה  תַּעֲרֹךְ לְפָנַי, שֻׁלְחָן--    נֶגֶד צֹרְרָי;
דִּשַּׁנְתָּ בַשֶּׁמֶן רֹאשִׁי,    כּוֹסִי רְוָיָה.
ו  אַךְ, טוֹב וָחֶסֶד יִרְדְּפוּנִי--    כָּל-יְמֵי חַיָּי;
וְשַׁבְתִּי בְּבֵית-יְהוָה,    לְאֹרֶךְ יָמִים


Read the story behind the ritual here

Complete Ceremony

Early Bird Sale!

Want the latest news from Ritualwell?

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

New Ritualwell Immersion starts Sept. 11th!