Introduction to Waters of Separation

Three days before her wedding in May 2013, Hannah and I had a list of twelve tasks which we needed to accomplish, including facials for both of us, the final fitting of her wedding dress, and buying her new outfits for the Shabbat of Sheva Brachot.  The last item on the list was taking her to the mikveh. When I returned home from Shacharit , as I was then saying Kaddish for  my mother, I realized that I only had a short time to write some of my many thoughts to her about this time of transition for us both.  I wanted the time at the mikveh to be both religious and personal. I read her the poem while she was within the mikveh. We both cried; more waters of separation.

For my Daughter at the Mikveh


Water first separated you from me.

Enclosed , sheltered by water, jostled within me.

I’d feel your movements, a foot, an elbow

Protrude and then withdraw, I rubbed my hand

Across my stretched skin and wondered  who you were.

Until in the middle of the night, my water broken


Your father and I rushed to the hospital.

Wet, salty tears streamed from my check to yours

As I first cradled you in my arms and we gazed at each other.


For I was a scared mother, wanting a different relationship

Than I had known, uncertain how to proceed,

I wove you into the fabric of my life.


For whatever I did you shared with me

Whether morning yoga stretches to afternoon baking

And cooking and welcoming guests to our home.


Reflections shared from books, the days’ events, family and friends

You complete my sentences. You know my responses,

You have been my daughter, my companion, my confidante, my friend.


From midrasha, your army base, trips abroad

You would return to our home.  Your room

Cleaned, dusted, quilts laundered, ready for you.


Now water separates us again.

Water which surrounds you

Water from which you will emerge


Ready to be a bride, to be a wife and lover,

To be a companion, confidante, consultant, friend,

To your husband, in the life you will build together.


So we are here at the edge of the pool,

Our lives transformed again by water,

Waters of Separation, Waters of Kedushah, My blessings to you.