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I have been away. I have been negligent.

I am returning. It’s the right time of year for it. 🙂

I went to the Mikvah to come clean before God on the holiest of days.

I am me, so I wrote a poem, because that’s what I do when I’m moved.

I thought I’d share it with you.

Here it is:


Usually I am above,

looking down

I avert my eyes as they descend

and then connect with them to say the prayers

to share the joy

to complete the process

to witness


I am the rabbi

I lead

I accompany

I affirm, confirm, and reaffirm

I am the guide

I am with them

But apart

A part

of their experience

but my own experience is secondary

(as it should be in such moments)


How nice

to return to this place for my own purposes

for me

for my soul

for my spirit

It is I who descend this time

I, who am embraced by God’s warm and welcoming waters

I, who get to immerse

and emerge



with God and the water

and the words on the page


renewing my spirit

repairing my soul

preparing for the year ahead


I know what I look like,

a body

distorted as I submerge

hair floating around me

as the splashes echo

I can see myself as I have seen so many others

I know I am glowing as I come out from the water

I know I am walking straighter

head held higher


by the waters of God


Usually I am looking down

But today I immersed

and I looked up

through those beautiful windows

through light streaming in

and God was my witness

and the waters, my rebirth


–          Rabbi Emma Gottlieb

Mayyim Hayyim



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