A prayer for pre-ordination immersion
January 04, 2011
Intention / כוונה
I come before You today
in gratitude for the teachers who have guided me
in deepening my spiritual practice
in heady intellectual learning
in opening my heart to Torah, to God, and to community
and in how to tie my shoes
Holy One of Blessing, thank You
for leading me to my community of learning
for being with me through struggles and rejoicing
for my beloved companions on this journey
for my family and friends who have supported me
and for the riches of this tradition
Help me to let go of what I need to release
So that I may be open to the changes which are coming.
I had planned a trip to Mayyim Hayyim last week, in order to immerse in a mikvah and in so doing prepare myself spiritually for the experience of ordination. A few days before the scheduled trip, I realized I didn't have the energy for the six-hour round-trip drive, and canceled it. (It's just as well; the day I had planned to schlep there was the day of a huge snowstorm, and we got a good two feet of snow here!)
I rescheduled my mikvah for a different place and time: an indoor pool at a friend's house, where I could have solitude and space. It's not a kosher mikvah (it's not fed by living waters), but in midwinter in the northern Berkshires I'm just grateful to have a place where I can immerse in water, period. I've experienced what we in Jewish Renewal call "spiritual mikvah" in swimming pools (and hot tubs) before, and have always come away feeling changed and cleansed. Anyway: the above is the prayer I wrote to recite before my immersions.
Those who are attuned to kabbalistic things may notice a hint of four-worlds teaching in the first stanza. (Those who are attuned to poetry things may note that the prayer took the loose form of a sonnet.) I offer this as a gift to anyone else who approaches ordination and wants a mikvah immersion ritual; the rest of your ritual is yours to create for yourself, but you're welcome to use this prayer to set your intention, as I have done.