The First Thing I Needed to Do

September 2021 / Tishrei 5782

Dear friend,

It’s been a long, hard pandemic. We asked each other, “What’s the first thing you’ll do once you’re vaccinated?”

For me, the first thing I needed to do was immerse at Mayyim Hayyim.

Lockdown overlapped with the year of mourning for my beloved Abba, my father. It wasn’t until May of this year that I felt ready to go to Mayyim Hayyim. I went in the water bearing the compounded pain of that loss and others, and the burden of fears for the future.

I recited the new ceremony for re-entry into community: “I seek healing for my body, my heart, my mind, and my soul; may my fear be dissolved… may I feel ready to join my community once more.”

By the time I stepped out of the water, I felt myself letting go of the loss and sadness. It was a familiar feeling.

My friend (and fellow Mayyim Hayyim board member) Rabbi Rachel Saphire reminded me that this feeling is part of our tradition, especially during the High Holy Days.

Every Rosh Hashanah, we set high expectations; we make promises. But often, the year plays out differently than we expected, and ends with unfulfilled promises and other burdens. We bring our disappointments, our losses, our grief to Yom Kippur.

Says Rachel, “Our tradition brilliantly teaches us to let these burdens go. We have the sacred text of the Kol Nidre prayer, which allows us to annul our vows.

“We also have the power of mikveh. In the waters at Mayyim Hayyim, we can let go of pain and regret. Held and comforted in the warm waters, our hopes are nourished so we can begin, again.”

That’s what Mayyim Hayyim gave me and what it provides to our whole community. That’s why I’m asking you for your support.

Please make a generous donation to Mayyim Hayyim today. Your gift will support this life-affirming work that helps us process our grief, and begin anew. 



Elisha Gechter, along with Rabbi Rachel Saphire
Mayyim Hayyim Board Members


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