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Mikvah Education and Development

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?

A 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?

The 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 niddah,” 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 niddah and 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 niddah 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 1992).
  • 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 mikvah?

Yes, in certain situations.  The blessing for a niddah who immerses in a mikvah is as follows:

  • Baruch Atah Ad-noy El-henu Melech HaOlam Asher Kid’shaNu B’Mitzvotav, VeTzivanu Al HaTevilah.

  • Blessed are You Oh Lord, King of the Universe, Who has made us holy with His commandments and commanded us concerning immersion.

The 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 vessel/vessels.

Men 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.

Feb 1, 2007