This and other information can be found on our website at www.mayyimhayyim.org.
Since I’m in Boston for Shabbat, and since the Arava desert is a bit short on water,
might has well celebrate 43 years on the planet with a dunk.
Seven Kavannot for Mikveh Preparation
The Holy One created the world in six days, but made it complete with
Shabbat, the seventh day. The number seven suggests wholeness and
represents the creative process. Seven steps lead into the mikveh.
These seven kavannot - preparatory meditations - are offered in the
hope that your immersion will provide you a sense of shleimut -
wholeness and peace.
1. Hineini. Here I am.
Take a minute and think about the transition mikveh will help you
Immersion in the mikveh represents a spiritual transformation from
one state to another. In traditional language, your change is from
ritually unready (tameh) to ritually ready (tahor). Prepare yourself
by writing in a journal, or saying a personal prayer, or reading
something of meaning to you. Breathe deeply. Sigh audibly.
2. B’Tzelem Elohim. I am made in the image of God.
Remove all clothing, eyeglasses, contact lenses, dental plates,
Each person enters the mikveh as naked as the day of his birth, as
the day of her birth. Without rank or status. Simply a human being.
Gloriously a human being.
3. Hiddur mitzvah. The unadorned body is beautiful in itself.
Remove all jewelry as well as makeup, paying special attention to the
eyes. Remove nail polish on fingers and toes (Acrylics may stay on if
they have been on for more than a month.)
There is no need for adornment or artifice in the mikveh. There
should be no physical barriers between the body and the living
4. Nekavim nekavim. You fashioned the human being intricate in
Empty your bladder.
Our tradition celebrates and blesses the body in every possible
moment and mode.
5. Elohai Neshama shenatata bi tehorah hi. The soul in me is pure.
Shower or bathe with thoughtful attention to the miracle of your own
body. Pay attention to every part of yourself. Wash yourself, head to
toe; shampoo your hair, lather your shoulders, back, arms, belly, and
genitals. Scrub elbows, knees and heels, removing calluses and dead
skin. Wash between fingers and toes. Comb through your hair.
Relax and enjoy. The water of the mikveh will feel even sweeter after
6. Kol HaNeshama t’halel yah. The breath of every living thing
Clean your ears, blow your nose, brush and floss your teeth, rinse
Stand before the mirror. Consider all of your senses. Look into your
own eyes and smile. Think about the words that come from your mouth.
7. Tikkun Olam. We can stand for justice; we can build a world of
peace and justice.
Clean under your nails — toenails, too. (Nails do not need to be
Consider the power of your hands and feet to create wholeness in your
life, in our world.
Now that you are ready in body, mind, and spirit, wrap yourself in
the sheet provided and dial 200 to let the madricha/madrich (mikveh
guide) know you are ready. The guide is here to help make your
immersion as meaningful as possible, to answer questions, provide
guidance, insure privacy, and, where appropriate, to assure you that
your immersion is ‘fit’ or kasher.
As you enter the mikveh do not rush. Walk slowly. Count the seven
steps into the water, stopping on each one. Reach for the cap that
will permit a “kiss” of living water into your mikveh. Open the
connection between you and the beginning.
Relax into the embrace of the water, into whatever the next moment
may hold for you.
Welcome to Mayyim Hayyim. In the mikveh, every body is a sacred
You are scheduled for an immersion. Please visit our website at
www.MayyimHayyim.org for more information.