Mikvah is part
of a process that helps reunite a husband and wife -
the goal is not strictly spiritual, the goal is for a
wife to be with your husband.
What is a mikvah?
mikvah is a natural body of water or a gathering of
water that has a designated connection to natural water.
The pool is designed specifically for immersion,
according to the rules and customs of Jewish law.
While the mikvah resembles a little swimming
pool, it is much, much more.
What is the mikvah used for?
preeminent use of the mikvah is for married women
to ritually purify themselves after their menstrual
period. According to Jewish law and custom, during
menstruation a woman is considered “in
and refrains from intimate and physical relations with
her husband. This is understood from the Torah
prohibition in Leviticus 15:19: “When a woman has
a discharge of blood, where blood flows from her body,
she shall be a
niddah for seven days.” Immersion
in a mikvah ends this period of
allows for the physical relationship between the husband
and wife to resume.
In his book
Waters of Eden,
Aryeh Kaplan emphasizes
that use of the mikvah is one of the most
important aspects of Jewish married life. It can even
be considered even more important for the bond between
husband and wife than the wedding ceremony! While the
wedding joined the husband and wife for the first time,
the continuous cycle between refraining and engaging in
physical intimacy actually renews the marriage on a
monthly basis. The forced separation of the
period leads to a “second honeymoon” each time the
couple reunites after she immerses in the mikvah.
The sparks of intimacy and excitement are continuously
sustained, helping the couple maintain physical and
spiritual harmony in their marriage.
Can the mikvah be used for other purposes?
The mikvah is used as the final stage of conversion to
Judaism. We learn from the Torah, just previous to
the giving of the Ten Commandments, that this was the
final part of the covenant between G-d and the Jewish
people. Immediately before giving the Ten
Commandments, G-d tells Moses (Exodus 19:10),
“Go to the people, and sanctify them today and
tomorrow, and let them wash their garments.
And be ready for the third day, for on the third day,
G-d will descend in the sight of all the people on
Mount Sinai.” Tradition tells us that “wash their
garments” means that one had to purify his clothes as
well as his body in a mikvah. In this way, the
ger (convert) attains a physical connection
with all Jews and becomes part of the unique
covenantal relationship with G-d.
Generally, new dishes should also be immersed in the
mikvah before use. Briefly, the law states “any metal
or glass eating utensil manufactured or owned by a
non-Jew, be immersed in the mikvah before it
can be used for Jewish food.” Our sages compare a
table to an alter, and therefore, every utensil used
on the Jewish table must be sanctified, just as were
vessels used on the alter in the Holy Temple (Kaplan
The mikvah is used by men customarily at
auspicious times, such as before Yom Kippur and
a groom on his wedding day. Many men use it Erev
Shabbat, while some chassidic men even use
the mikvah daily before prayer.
Does one need to recite blessings upon immersion in a
in certain situations. The blessing for a
who immerses in a mikvah is as follows:
Baruch Atah Ad-noy El-henu
Melech HaOlam Asher Kid’shaNu B’Mitzvotav, VeTzivanu
Blessed are You Oh Lord, King of the Universe, Who
has made us holy with His commandments and commanded
us concerning immersion.
blessing for dipping a vessel in a mikvah is:
Baruch Atah Ad-noy
El-henu Melech HaOlam Asher Kid’shaNu B’Mitzvotav,
VeTzivanu Al Tevilat Keli/Kalim.
Blessed are You Oh
Lord, King of the Universe, Who has made us holy with
His commandments and commanded that we immerse a
who immerse in the mikvah voluntarily, or anyone
who chooses to immerse at an auspicious time (such as
prior to Yom Kippur) does not recite a blessing
because Jewish law does not specifically command
immersion at that time.