The Cup of Miriam Ceremony for Havdalah

The Cup of Miriam Ceremony for Havdalah

This ceremony over a cup of water can be added to Havdalah, symbolizing the miraculous source of fresh water that accompanied the Israelites in the desert. Known as “Miriam’s Well,” the Talmud explains that this blessed water was granted to the Children of Israel in the merit of Miriam the Prophetess. Tradition teaches that Miriam, who led the women in song and dance after the Splitting of the Sea, will also lead the Jewish people into the Messianic era with a celebration of joy and gratitude. As Shabbat comes to an end, many communities yearn for the coming of the Messiah by invoking Elijah the Prophet, who is believed to be the one who will herald the coming of the Messiah, while fewer also mention Miriam the Prophetess. Although practiced by the Alter Rebbe, the founder of the Chabad Hasidic movement, this tradition is mainly followed by progressive, feminist communities today. This ceremony is a prayer to God for a blessed week of healing and strength, in the merit of Miriam and her holy waters. It was submitted by Kol Isha (Matia Rania Angelou, Janet Berkenfield, Stephanie Loo) to, a project of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College that provides a platform for creating new Jewish practices.

Kos Miriam for Havdalah

There is a custom among the women of Israel to draw water from a well at the end of Shabbat, for at this time the water of Miriam’s Well fills all the other wells in the world. Those who drink this water with an open heart and an open mind are brought to a place of healing. Remember us with healing, God, for when You sweetened the water at Marah You told us, “Ani Adonay Rofeh-khah – I am God, your healer.”

Let us drink deeply from the mayyim hayyim, the living waters of Miriam’s Well. As we drink, may we find sustenance from God’s healing powers and strength for the coming week.

(lift cup)

Zot Kos Miryam, Kos Mayyim Hayyim.
Hazak Hazak V’nit-hazeik.

Hazak Hazak V’nit-hazeik.
This is the Cup of Miriam, the Cup of Living Waters.
Strength, Strength, and let us be Strengthened.

Barukh Atah Adonay, Eloheynu Mikor ha-Khayyim, rofeh kol basar u’mafli la-asot.
Blessed are You Yah our God, Life-Source of the Universe, Who heals all flesh and performs wonders.

N’varekh et Eyn ha-Hayyim she-natnah lanu Mayyim Hayyim.
Let us bless the Source of Life Who has given us living waters.

(blessing for drinking water):
Barukh Atah Adonay, Eloheynu Melekh ha-Olam, she-ha-kol nih’ye bi-d’varo.
Blessed are You Yah our God, Majestic Spirit of the Universe, by Whose word everything is created.

© 1992 Kol Isha (Matia Rania Angelou, Janet Berkenfield, Stephanie Loo). May be used, but not sold, by notifying Kol Isha in writing at PO Box 132, Wayland, MA, 01778. Please include this copyright on all copies.