Preparing in advance for a Tevillah on a night of Yom Tov
Halacha allows a woman to toivel on Shabbos and Yom Tov. This teaches us how important the mitzvah of onah (intimacy) is for the couple, and emphasizes that mikvah should not be delayed unless there are extenuating circumstances. It is a good idea to:
a. Print out the times and location of when your local Rov is available over Yom Tov, so if shailos arise while you are within the seven clean days, or regarding any chatzitza, you will know how to contact him.
b. If you need the services of a Bodekes, please find out if and when she is available over Yom Tov, to avoid the need to delay Tevillah unnecessarily.
c. It is a good idea to contact your mikvah to find out their Yom Tov policy and procedures.
1. Times of available appointments
2. Walking partners service
3. Payment options
4. Special Shabbos/Yom Tov entrance/exit
5. Do they allow prep at the building on Yom Tov?
6. Do they provide hot water, a toothbrush, mouthwash, precut floss or picks, and liquid soap?
7. Do they have special arrangements if, for any reason, you need to toivel after the Yom Tov seudah?
Many Mikvaos have websites where this information is clearly posted.
Yom Tov is a busy season and comes with extra stress and preparations. It is advisable to make a list of things you can do in advance, to make the mikvah experience as pleasant as possible.
a. Plan your shopping, cooking, and food preparation so that you can designate quality time on Erev Yom Tov to do a proper chafifa. This is a must.
b. On Erev Yom Tov itself, you can do parts of the chafifah earlier in the day, for example cutting nails, removal of eye makeup and nail polish, and even more if needed, to minimize the rush closer to candle lighting.
c. If your house has only one bathroom or bath, or you are a guest in someone’s home, and you will not have access to a private bath, please call the mikvah in advance to find out if you can do your chafifah using a prep room at the mikvah, either earlier in the day or closer to candle lighting. [If there is no available option to bathe properly, ask a shaila if a thorough shower is sufficient].
d. If walking to the Mikvah on Yom Tov poses a problem, and you prefer to drive there before candle lighting on Erev Shabbos/Yom Tov, and then to walk back after Tevillah, please contact your Rav for instructions
e. Using disposable gloves for food preparation avoids making hands harder to clean.
Yom Tov is time spent with family and friends. However, the mitzvah of Tevillah and onah are the priority. Here are some user-friendly tips for hostesses and guests:
[If going to the mikvah on Yom Tov itself will be a huge breach of privacy, you may want to discuss your options with your Rav].
The following can be done in advance if you are a guest:
a. Confirm that the available mikvah has the right hashgacha/supervision
b. Confirm if there is an option for a Chabad mikvah built bor al gabai bor- if that is your custom
c. Get clear, and safe, walking instructions.
d. It is ok, in a discreet manner, to enlist the help of the person who will help you with covering for your absence, or babysitting, in order to get to the mikvah and back in a safe, private, and timely manner. [It is permissible for your husband to babysit if that is your best option.]
e. Check out the bedroom beforehand to make sure it can accommodate the mitzvah of onah (Shabbos lamp? Sforim to cover? Lock?)
As a hostess:
a. Allow your guests the privacy and space to do their thing,
b. Avoid invasive questions
c. You can offer:
“Here is a Shabbos key so you can come and go as you please over Shabbos/Yom Tov”
“We make kiddush at this and this time; sometimes we are delayed, some guests come earlier, some arrive later"
“We usually take our showers very early, as we usually have last-minute guests; the bathroom is yours for the last hour before candle lighting"
d. Accommodate the bedroom set-up for both nidah and taharah time
***In general, it is advised to do your final bedika on erev Shabbos/Yom Tov with enough time to be able to address any shaila that may arise***
Tevillah on the first night of Yom Tov is the same as a Friday night Tevillah
All preparations need to be finished before candle lighting
Tie back your hair in a manner that it won’t get tangled. It is forbidden to braid or unbraid hair on Shabbos and Yom Tov.
At the mikvah building, there is no showering
[Smooth your hair with your fingers in a manner that will not pull out any hair]
Inspect your body right before Tevillah, to be sure there are no chatzitzos
If you used the bathroom in the interim, rewash and recheck the necessary areas with your hands to make sure they are clean from any tissue paper, etc
- After Tevilah you may not squeeze out any water from your hair. You may wrap a towel over your head to absorb the excess water, but not squeeze it out.
Second Night Yom Tov Tevillah Instructions
***Please note: many current hot water boilers may pose shailos for use on Yom Tov if they operate with any electric system, for ignition, or otherwise. When we mention using warm or hot water on Yom Tov, we are referring to heating the water in a manner that is permissible on Yom Tov.***
1. On Erev Yom Tov, you should do your entire chafifah (full preparatory cleansing) so that it will be completed as close to candle lighting as is comfortable. [If this is difficult, you may bathe earlier in the day and then repeat a thorough shower closer to candle lighting time, paying attention to the folds and orifices (see *** below), re-combing your hair, and inspecting your body].
2. You should tie your hair back with a clip, etc, that can be easily removed on Yom Tov (without tearing out any hair), to keep it free of tangles. It is forbidden to braid or unbraid hair on Shabbos and Yom Tov.
3. There are those who permit the application of some light makeup on Erev Yom Tov that will certainly wipe off easily (in a manner permissible on Yom Tov) before Tevillah on the next night.
4. Between the chafifah and your tevilah the next night, (or two nights later), you should be careful to avoid getting a chatzitzah (intervening substance) on your body as much as possible. Disposable gloves are great, especially for Pesach or any time you may need to work in the kitchen!
5. Continue with the bedikos as necessary.
6. On the second night of Yom Tov, after nightfall, prior to immersion, you should do the following:
(In a situation where you need to do your preparation as below, before sunset, instead of after nightfall, it must be apparent that you are doing so for your own pleasure/cleanliness and not exclusively for preparing on one day of Yom Tov for the following day.)
Before Tevillah on the Second Night of Yom Tov:
1. Clean your mouth and teeth using mouthwash. You may use a Shabbos toothbrush or a dry toothbrush to scrub your teeth as long as your gums normally do not bleed from brushing. Clean between your teeth with plastic picks or precut dental floss, providing bleeding will not occur. (A woman whose gums usually bleed should consult a Rov before Yom Tov and ask what to do).
2. Hair of the head may neither be rinsed, nor combed. Run your fingers gently through the hair on your head and body, making it smooth.
3. Inspect your body visually and with your hands (for those areas that are not visible), to ensure there are no intervening substances.
***Pay attention to the folds (such as under the chin, under breasts, underarms, elbows, knees, between thighs, and folds in the genital area) and the orifices (mouth, nose, ears, navel, between toes, genitalia).
4. If necessary, you may rinse individual parts of your body using warm water. A full-body shower is not allowed. You may wash one limb at a time; as long as all together you do not wash the majority of your body. You may use a cup or kvort. (Better to avoid using a handheld shower). No washcloth, sponge, or any other squeezable material is allowed. Diluted liquid soap may be used if needed.
***Some Rabbonim prefer l’chatchilla for a woman to actually wash these areas with the above-mentioned method, before inspecting her body.***
5. When you have completed your preparations, put on a robe and alert the mikvah attendant (knock on the door, slip the card under the door or on the doorknob, push the Shabbos button, etc) that you are ready for tevilah.
Special instructions for Tevillah on Friday night following the first or second day of Yom Tov
If an Eruv Tavshillin was made, then you may do your mikvah preparations on Friday before candle lighting.
It is forbidden to turn on the hot water faucets on Shabbos. If warm water is needed, please ask the mikvah attendant who will bring you warm water that was heated before Shabbos.
Tevillah for a Motzoei a 2-day or 3-day Yom Tov
Some poskim prefer that a woman does her entire chafifah on Erev Yom Tov and then takes a thorough shower, cleaning teeth, combing her hair, and inspecting her body on Motzoei Yom Tov, 2 or 3 days later.
Other poskim prefer that the woman cut her nails and shower thoroughly on Erev Yom Tov; but completes her thorough chafifa (including the bath) just before her Tevillah, on Motzoei Yom Tov, 2 or 3 days later.
You may apply makeup on erev Shabbos/Yom Tov - l’kovod Shabbos/Yom, Tov, if you know you will be careful to remove all the makeup before your Tevillah on Motzoei Shabbos/Yom Tov.
Special thanks to Rabbi Tuvia Kasimov for reviewing these halachos for accuracy
Regarding Yom Kippur:
On Yom Kippur, relations are not permitted.
If it is a woman's scheduled mikvah night (according to when her hefsek taharah was completed), mikvah is postponed until after the fast.
Tevilah Motzoei Yom Kippur:
Regarding chafifah for a Motzoei Yom Kippur immersion:
a. It is best if chafifah is done, or at least begun, Erev Yom Kippur, then completed after the fast, Motzoei Yom Kippur – meaning: Erev Yom Kippur take a full bath, wash, comb, inspect.
b.If a full bath was taken on Erev Yom Kippur, then you need to take a thorough shower Motzoei Yom Kippur, brush and floss your teeth, and re-wash, re-comb your hair; and then re-inspect your body.
c.If you are unable to do full chafifah Erev Yom Kippur, then you may do something for chafifah (e.g. cut nails, etc) and take a thorough shower Erev Yom Kippur, then you would need a full bath and complete the chafifah Motzoei Yom Kippur.
d. If it is not possible to do anything to begin chafifah Erev Yom Kippur, then full chafifah may take place Motzoei Yom Kippur, but it should then take no less than 1 hour.
e. Be sure to avoid walking barefoot on Yom Kippur, between chafifah and the tevilla. Wear shoes that are permitted to be worn on this day.
f. Relations are not permitted on Yom Kippur. All harchokos (laws of separation as when nidah) are kept throughout the entire Yom Kippur, even when one is tehorah.
g. It is a minhag to leave a lamp on in bedroom to remind the couple of the harchokos
Regarding the Minhag of Going to Mikvah Erev Yom Kippur:
1. It is not the minhag by Ashkenazim for unmarried girls to go to mikvah Erev Yom Kippur
2. Only a shower is required before this tevilla
3. No bracha is made for this tevilla
4. A woman is permitted to toivel even during the sheva nekiim
5. A woman may also go on the day before Erev Yom Kippur
6. It is better to remove nail polish, but it is still ok to toivel even with polish
7. There is no need to hide this tevila from other women
8. A woman should not toivel Erev Yom Kippur IF her mikvah night was within three days (this is in regards to conception)