New Ceremonies: Being Pregnant

In a world where pregnancy is a choice, we should ritually acknowledge those who undertake it.

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Ritual for Affirming and Accepting Pregnancy

The parents (or the mother):

We declare ourselves fully ready to fulfill the commandment "Be fruitful and multiply," which God commanded us on the day that God created us and on the day that God rescued us from the waters of the flood. And in order to fulfill this commandment, we hereby come to enter the covenant that God has made with the daughters of Eve.

The mother:

For Eve first recognized this bond of creation, affirming it at the birth of her first son, when she stated ["kaniti ish et hashem"] "I have created a man with the Lord" (Gen. 4:1). God who creates us has created in woman the power to continue and participate in God's creations on earth.
I come to affirm this partnership with God:
In my womb You form the child
in my womb, I nourish it.
There You form and number the limbs
there I contain and protect them.
You who can see the child in the depths of my innards,
I who can feel the kicks and the turns--
Together we count the months,
together we plan the future,
flesh of my flesh
form of Your form
another human upon the earth;
a home for God in this, our world.
As we have entered this covenant, so may we be privileged to bring our child to the Torah, to the commandments, to the wedding canopy, and to a righteous life. And let us say Amen.

The Congregation:

The rabbi offers the following "personal prayer" (Misheberakh):
May the One Who blessed our ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Leah, Bilhah, and Zilpah, bless this woman ______ and this man ______ because they have entered this pact with our Creator. For this may the Holy Blessed One be full of mercy for her, to keep her safe, alive, healthy, and well. And may God bring forth the child from her womb at a good and propitious time. For You bring on labor and bring on birth. May it be Your wish that her parents will be privileged to raise children to the Torah, the wedding canopy, and to a righteous life. And let us say, Amen.


(Congregation then sings):
Y'varekh'khem Ha-Shem mi-Tzion
u-ra'u be-tuv Yerushalayim
Ye-varekh'khem Ha-Shem mi-Tzion
kol ye-mei, ye-mei chayyeikhem
U-ra'u banim le-vnaikhem
shalom al Yisra'el.
[May the Lord bless you from Zion;
            may you share the prosperity of Jerusalem
            all the days of your life,
            and live to see your children's children.
May all be well with Israel! (Psalm 128:5-6)]

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Tikva Frymer-Kensky

Tikva Frymer-Kensky (1943-2006) was a professor of Hebrew Bible at the Divinity School at the University of Chicago. She was the author of many works of biblical scholarship and spirituality. She was a foremost assyriologist, biblical scholar, and feminist.