Mikvah Tour

A Mikvah can be built in just about any structure. Often an entire, separate building is constructed to make the observance of this mitzvah as comfortable and convenient as possible. Sometimes, one is built inside a synagogue or Jewish community center.

Have seat in the waiting room, an attendant will be with you momentarily to show you to an available preparation room. Your privacy is primary here. Mikvah is a very private Mitzvah. Only one's husband and the attendant know of the visit to the Mikvah . Indeed, in this Mitzvah, discretion is commendable.

Cleanliness Is paramount in properly fulfilling the Mitzvah of Mikvah

Everything that would come between your natural body and the sanctity of the Mikvah waters must be removed. There is just you and G‑d, the was you were created, in His image. When you have achieved this purely, natural state, you may don the fresh robe provided and ring for the attendant. Nails must be trimmed, teeth cleaned and hair combed of interfering knots. No make-up, nail polish or anything artificial may intervene in this sacred Mitzvah. Many woman prepare at home many others however take advantage of an elegant bathroom complete with bathtub and vanity. Everything is shining and clean ready for your use. Fresh towels, disposable slippers, robe, soap, shampoo, nail clippers, and all the other essentials are provided to enable each woman to completely and thoroughly cleanse herself.

At first glance, the Mikvah, its construction and its waters, may appear nothing more than a very small swimming pool. What sets it apart, granting it sanctity, are the manner of construction and the water itself. The waters of the Mikvah are "Living Waters", coming from a natural source. A tiled pipe on the wall allows rainwater to flow directly into the "Bor" (lit. reservoir). The "Bor" maintains this natural source, and through an opening either to the side or from underneath (in this particular Mikvah, the "Bor" is underneath), these 'Living Waters' (i.e. the natural water) "kiss" the city water added into the main pool, maintaining constant contact between the two waters during immersion.

The construction of the Mikvah is quite complex, and must be supervised by rabbis trained and expert in the field. As you can see, it is not a swimming pool!

It is now time for the actual mitzvah of immersion.
The Mikvah attendant will hold your robe and wait discreetly while you step down into these very special waters, following the very same footsteps taken by Jewish women throughout the centuries.

The water is about chest high. You immerse, water covering every last hair. The mitzvah surrounds you. It is but a moment, yet you sense the holiness here.

Come up and recite the blessing.

Immerse a couple of times more (or as is your custom). The attendant has watched carefully to ensure that each immersion is complete according to Halacha (Jewish law). She pronounces each immersion: "Kosher", and her voice rises to the heavens, witness to the fact. This is your time. A moment just for you, when the gates to heaven are open to your personal prayers.

Now the mitzvah is complete. You are renewed and reborn in a spiritual way unlike any other.

If you would like to attain a deeper understanding of the importance and meaning of this mitzvah, may we suggest one or all of the following:

"Waters of Eden",
by Aryeh Kaplan.
The author calls Mikvah the secret of Jewish survival, a mystical connector to the Garden of Eden, and explains the Mikvah's fundamental connection to birth, marriage, conversion and death. This is a revealing book that explores old myths and prejudices and offers insights never before available to the English reading public.

"Total Immersion",
by Rivkah Slonim,
A collection of thought-provoking, personal essays by women, is also an excellent and highly recommended read. Full of insights and information, this book contributes to our understanding of Mikvah.

To learn more about the Halachos (Jewish laws) of family purity, you may want to read
"A Woman's Guide to the Laws of Niddah"
by Rabbi Binyomin Forst.

These books and others will all be available through www.mikvah.org



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