The Mikvah and the Modern Jewish Woman

 

 

I have vivid memories of a Mikvah from my childhood when I attended Hebrew school at an Orthodox Shul, although not Orthodox myself.  The Mikvah was actually a separate part of the women’s bathroom at the Synagogue.  There was a mysterious room behind the door in the bathroom where water constantly filled up in this little pool.  It looked warm and inviting.  All the girls would giggle when we thought of this special room. Even as a young girl, I understood this to be a place of sanctity and spirituality.

 

Many years later, I was married at this synagogue because of the special relationship my parents had and still do with the Rabbi.  I did not use the Mikvah then and unfortunately it was never really discussed in detail with us.  I wish I had been taught more and understood the significance of this ritual before I was married.

 

After having children, my husband and I gradually became more observant and began to learn more about the customs and rituals of having a Jewish home.  Living in Peoria, one must go the extra mile so to speak to instill a strong Jewish identity in your children, especially since they may be the only Jewish kids in their class or neighborhood.

 

I attended the Mikvah opening and was in awe of how the beautifully the Chabad along with others transformed the room into a mini spa.  The decor is reminiscent of Jerusalem stone and adds to ones sense of connection with our Jewish heritage. The speaker at the opening ceremony informed us that it is more important for a community to build a Mikvah first even before a synagogue.  I never really thought of using the Mikvah because I’m not planning to have any more children.   It wasn’t until I took Sorah’s class that I learned not only is this a requirement for women by Hashem, it is also a beautiful way to enhance your relationship with your husband both physically and spiritually.

 

Now for those of you thinking this is not for me, I was once in your shoes.  I never thought of separating except for a few days and I really didn’t like the idea of having to be undressed in front of an attendant.  But once you get past all of that, you realize how amazing the experience can be.  The attendant only looks to see if you’ve fully submerged under water and have recited the prayers. It is all done very privately and with dignity.  I look forward to this night where I have some time to myself to prepare and visit the Mikvah. The waters are refreshing and invigorating. I think of this as my trip to the spa with a special connection to G-D. This is a holy time where women have a special time to pray and ask for requests from G-D.

 

I think this ritual bath has helped rekindle the sparks with my husband. On the Mikvah night, he helps out with dinner and the kids and eagerly awaits my return.  The separation allows you to have your space and not take one another for granted.  Since starting to use the Mikvah, my husband is more caring and attentive to my needs. A more spiritual and transcendent connection with both Hashem and your spouse, what more could a modern Jewish woman ask for?