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Rabbi Haviva Ner-David

Rabbi Dr. Haviva Ner-David is the Director of Shmaya: A Ritual and Educational Mikveh, and the founding director of Reut: The Center for Modern Jewish Marriage. She has also written Chanah’s Voice: A Rabbi Wrestles with Gender, Commandment, and the Women’s Rituals of Baking, Bathing, and Brightening (2013, Ben Yehudah Press). In 2006, Rabi Ner-David was was given semicha by Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Strikovsky of Tel-Aviv. In 2000 she wrote a book documenting her journey and aspirations as a female rabbi entitled, Life on the Fringes: A Feminist Journey Toward Traditional Rabbinic Ordination. She lives on Kibbutz Ḥannaton in northern Israel with her husband and seven children.


Mikveh Meditation for Erev Shabbat by Rabbi Haviva Ner-David and Shira Gura

Contributed on: 01 Feb 2012 by Rabbi Haviva Ner-David |

The following is a meditation I wrote (with the help of my friend Shira Gura, who teaches meditation and Yoga) to be used on Friday before Shabbat at the mikveh. It is based on midrashim related to Shabbat (for example, the notion that we receive an additional soul on Shabbat), as well as meanings behind mikveh in general (for example, the connection between the waters of Creation and the mikveh waters), and on some kavanot (sacred intentions) that came out of the Kabbalah and Ḥassidut movements. There is a strong tradition to write kavanot to use before immersing in the mikveh, since, as Maimonides writes in his Mishneh Torah 11:15, “If a person immerses but without buttressing him or herself [with sacred intention], it is as though he or she has not immersed at all.” . . .

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