Blessings: Immersion in the Mikveh for Conversion April, 2013 April, 2013 Reproduced with permission, based on an original from Mayyim Hayyim. Once you walk down the seven steps into the warm water of the mikveh, it is customary to immerse fully — covering every strand of hair with water — a total of three times. According to tradition, a blessing is recited after the first immersion (see the traditional and alternative blessings below). Some people then choose to say the shehecheyanu blessing after the last immersion. Others add private prayers or even sing between immersions. Each visitor is encouraged to follow his / her own custom. Mayyim Hayyim trains Mikveh Guides to help make your experience as meaningful as possible. He or she can answer questions, provide guidance, ensure privacy and offer support. Traditionally, a Mikveh Guide acts as a witness to make certain that one’s entire body (including all hair) is immersed under water. Mikveh Guides hold a sheet above their eyes, only lowering it down at the moment of immersion. If you prefer to immerse alone or with your own guest as a witness, just tell the Mikveh Guide. He/she is there for you. If you are immersing for conversion, please discuss this first with your sponsoring clergy, who may require a volunteer Mikveh Guide. Blessings for Mikveh Immersion Traditional Blessing: Baruch Ata Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha-olam asher kid-shanu b’mitzvo-tav v’tzi-vanu al ha-tevilah. Blessed are You, Adonai, Ruler of the Universe, Who has sanctified us with the mitzvot and commanded us concerning immersion. Alternative Blessing for Mikveh Immersion: Baruch Ata Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha-olam asher kid-shanu bi-tevilah b’mayyim hayyim. Blessed are You, God, Majestic Spirit of the Universe, Who makes us holy by embracing us in living waters. Shehecheyanu: Baruch Ata Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha-olam she-heche-yanu, ve-ki-y’manu, ve-higi-yanu la-z’man ha-zeh. Blessed are You, Adonai, Ruler of the Universe, Who has kept us alive and sustained us, and enabled us to reach this day. Blessing for Conversion: (Please check with your rabbi to see whether you will say this blessing after the first immersion, or if you will say the traditional blessing for immersion, above.) Baruch Ata Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha-olam asher kid-shanu b’mitzvo-tav v’tzi-vanu al tevilat gerim. Blessed are You, Adonai, Ruler of the Universe, Who has sanctified us with the mitzvot and commanded us concerning immersion for conversion.