Mikvah 101

Mikvah 101 So there I was engaged and very excited to marry my fiancé when I began to hear about all the things I needed to do to “prepare for marriage”. Pre-marriage counseling, no problem! I’m always pro talking and opening up as I’m quite the talkative gal and so is my fiancé. Jewish lessons, easy! I contacted my rock star Rebbetzin Goldie Simpson and asked for her support. She was very obliging and we arranged our first lesson pronto. Of course in typical Ya’el fashion I left these lessons to the last minute so I needed to get a move on and start learning.

I cannot lie, I was extremely nervous as I wasn’t exactly brought up in the most observant household so I didn’t know what to expect. After all, I knew very little about the mikvah process. I had heard about it once or twice before but thought it was more of an urban myth than anything else. When I was fianlly introduced to this ritual my body began to tense up.  Oh boy I guess this is no myth indeed!

But each lesson, I learned a little more about it and honestly I thought the whole thing sounded a little nuts. Dates, times, schedules - to do's and not to do's. I felt like I was in science class again learning about vectors and let me tell you I was never at ease in science class, especially learning about Vectors!

The big day (I’m referring to the Mikvah) drew closer and I became more relaxed as I started understanding the spiritual connotations more and more - how family purity is the essential backbone of our religion.  I began to realize how important it is for us to keep the tradition because it is the best thing you can do as a woman for you, your husband, your family and the world! No pressure…

The day was finally here and we drove to the mikvah. It’s apparently very special for the mom to come with so I invited mine.  I had heard that a mikvah is nice but I didn’t expect it to be this nice! The marble tiles, the hand soaps, fruity conditioners, huge spacious bathrooms and fluffy cream towels. It really did feel like a spa! My mom waited in the other room while I did my thing. Before I could believe it there I was facing this carefully constructed little pool, it looked very interesting and I couldn’t wait to go in.

As I entered the water it was so lovely and warm I felt like I was back in the womb and for the first time it hit me that I was going to be a married woman and eventually have a family of my own. I felt quite emotional and started praying for a million things and for a lot of people I know.  I just couldn’t stop and the truth is I enjoyed it so much I never wanted to get out. I felt like a little spiritual mermaid dipping and praying away.

Eventually it was time to get out and when I saw my mother on the other side she was in tears, of joy.  I giggled and hugged her. Women can be so silly sometimes but I can’t blame her for feeling emotional as just a few minutes ago so was I. We then had a sip of wine with a prayer and left.

On the way back in the car I felt a little different, quite calm, peaceful and most of all relaxed. I think I finally got it and understood why my friends didn’t tell me about it. Mikvah is a very personal experience that you need to discover by yourself to form your own beliefs. I was actually grateful that I had no preconceptions about the experience and that it was pure, natural and untouched - just like the mikvah itself.


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