Mikvah is a spiritual, ritual bath, designed to precise specifications, that brides and married Jewish women immerse in.
According to Jewish tradition water symbolizes life, purity, and the abundance of Divine blessings. The waters in the mikvah contain 'Mayim Chayim,' or living waters, which are connected to a gathering of natural rainwater. The immersion pool is filtered, purified and chlorinated to the highest standard.
As a woman immerses in these living waters she reconnects with her innermost spiritual core, and with her fellow Jewish women spanning through the generations who have been immersing in a mikvah since Biblical times.
Immersing in the mikvah is typically done in conjunction with the traditional laws of Jewish family life, which guide and bring sanctity to the intimate relationship between husband and wife. Brides traditionally immerse in the mikvah in the lead up to their wedding day. Married women immerse on a monthly basis, based on their individual personal cycle. For thousands of years, Jewish marriages have been strengthened through the sanctity and holiness inherent in this mitzvah.
The laws of mikvah are the structure that creates the holiness of a marital relationship. Judaism’s laws of family sanctity mandate that husband and wife refrain from intimate contact while the wife is menstruating, and for a period of seven days following. At the end of this time, she immerses in the mikvah and resumes intimate relations with her husband. A woman who has reached menopause need only immerse one time to achieve this level of holiness for the remainder of her married life.
Judaism holds the mitzvah of mikvah, and the importance of intimate relationships between a husband and wife, in the highest regard. It believes that intimate relationships are sacred, and essential to marital harmony, and that the mikvah is central to facilitating that connection.
When a woman immerses in the mikvah, she brings herself in immediate contact with the source of life, purity and holiness – indeed with G-d, the Giver of the Mitzvot. She also links herself to an ongoing tradition that has spanned generations, connecting with Jewish women around the world and throughout the history of Jewish peoplehood. During immersion, a woman connects to her spiritual side in an honest and deep level. It is an auspicious time for introspection and renewal, and for her to pray for all her desires and the needs of her family.
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