Today is the 11 of Cheshvan, and it is the historical Yahrzteit of Rachel Imeinu (Rachel the Matriarch). I don’t have a new ritual for this year, so forgive the reposting of the one I posted a couple of years ago. This ritual can be used to honor Rachel Imeinu or any ancestor. This is a simple solitary ritual, which can easily be adapted for a group. If you are interested in exploring a ritual specifically developed for a group, see Ceremony for the 11th of Cheshvan by Rabbi Jill Hammer.
Photo Credit: New Jewish fruit in Kibbutz Matzuva
Copyrights: Max Nathans 2007
Ritual for Remembering Rachel Imeinu
Originally posted on 11.05.2005 / 9th of Cheshvan 5766
May the blessings of our mother be carried through to each generation.
1 Tea Light
Small stones to represent specific ancestors
Small dish (big enough to hold all items listed above)
How to Peel a Pomegranate
Take the pomegranate and cut of the crown, being careful to not cut into seeds. Score the rind from crown to base into 6 sections. Place pomegranate in large bowl filled with cold water. The pomegranate should float upright. If you like, spin the pomegranate in the water and focus on it while meditating. Leave the pomegranate in the water for 5-10 minutes. Then peel of the rind and let the seed drop to the bottom. You can then skim the rind off the top and drain the water, leaving just the
Place your tealight in the dish and pour the pomegranate seeds around it. I often use only half of the seeds. Place your stones either along the edge of the dish or inside it against the tealight, whatever works for you. Place the dish on the altar and light your candle. The seeds are for the generations of ancestors, the stones for those you wish to specifically honor.
Recite Kaddish and poems or prayers that speak to the spirit of Rachel Imeinu.
Here are several poems, prayers, and resources you might like to use:
- From Our Foremothers
- To Rachel
- Rachel, from Inner.org
- The Shekhinah in Cheshvan
- Ceremony for the 11th of Cheshvan
- Prayers from the Rachel Imeinu Foundation
When the ritual is over be sure to dispose of the pomegranate seed properly. Burn them in the fire or throw them to the earth. Do not eat them casually. If you choose to dispose of them by ingesting them, it should be a deliberate act by which you share yourself with the generations.