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Can I take a shower after immersing in the mikvah?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

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In Mishnaic times, it was very difficult to find in Israel a Mikvah of clean Kosher rain water during the dry summer season. Thus it became common practice for people to rinse themselves with "drawn water"1 upon emerging from the mikvah. It reached a point that a large segment of the population believed that the purification process was effected by the rinsing which followed the dip in the mikvah! This caused them to view the mikvah immersion as trivial, and they were not properly diligent in immersing properly.

The sages, therefore, imposed a spiritual impurity upon one who enters a pool of "drawn water," or one who showers in such water. When someone goes to the mikvah for purification purposes,2 it is forbidden to shower afterwards.3

Fortunately, the vast majority of mikvahs are regularly filtered and are kept sparkling clean,4 thus it is usually unnecessary to shower after immersing.

You may shower or bathe as soon as you return to your home (or wherever you destination is upon leaving the mikvah).

Footnotes

  • 1. As opposed to mikvah waters which are not previously collected, rather they are rain waters which flow directly into the pit of the mikvah (usually via pipes connected to the roof).
  • 2. When men go to the mikvah, however, it isn't (primarily) for purity's sake, rather men go to add an extra dimension of purity and holiness to everyday life. That said, the Arizal does speak of the holiness of mikvah waters. In fact, the Arizal suggests that one not completely dry themselves from the mikvah waters! Therefore, ideally one should not "wash off" the holy mikvah waters.
  • 3. Maimonides, Hilchot Shar Avot Hatumah 9:1.
  • 4. Bear in mind that all who use the mikvah first undergo an hour-long bathing and total cleansing process.
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RELATED CATEGORIES

Life Cycle » Marriage » Family Purity » The Laws

Kosher
Literally means "fit." Commonly used to describe foods which are permitted by Jewish dietary laws, but is also used to describe religious articles (such as a Torah scroll or Sukkah) which meet the requirements of Jewish law.
Mikvah
A ritual bath where one immerses to become spiritually pure. After her menstrual cycle, a woman must immerse in the Mikvah before resuming marital relations.