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G-d Does His Part: A Mikvah Story

by Mr. Alan Haber

  

Library » Women & Judaism » Women's Mitzvot » Family Purity | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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In the many years that my wife and I have been involved in teaching the laws of Family Purity, we have observed many instances of Hashgachah Pratit , Divine Providence. One story in particular stands out and we feel that it should be shared.

One couple that ended up in our classes was not typical of the Sephardic Community. On a shopping expedition in Manhattan, my wife was introduced by her friend Renee Hanon to Aaron Abadi, a suit manufacturer. He happened to be a Syrian Jew born in Curacao, earning his living and residing in Manhattan.

Curacao is a small island under Dutch control, which is just north of Venezuela. While talking with Aaron, it was brought up that my wife Carol and I were teachers of Family Purity in our community and since Aaron was recently engaged, perhaps he would like to attend our classes.

Aaron politely, but emphatically, declined the offer; however, he did say he would mention it to his finacee, who was more observant than him, for in fact she had recently returned from two years in a seminary in Israel where she became a Baalat Teshuvah (returnee to observant Judaism).

As Aaron and Laurie were very enthusiastic supporters of Family Purity, we blessed them that they should eventually build a kosher mikvah on the island
Laurie, a lovely Ashkenazi girl, immediately accepted the opportunity for classes. Aaron got hooked because his good friends who were from Switzerland and living in Manhatten were also getting married at the same time, and they had readily agreed to attend the classes with their future brides. They were also Syrian Jews.

Aaron reluctantly attended the classes with Laurie. Although he had a limited religious background,  he was a very honest and truthful individual and by the end of the classes, he was very much convinced that this was the only formula for himself and Laurie to follow in their married life. Aaron and Laurie became our friends and would ask us many of their questions relating to Family Purity and other aspects of religion.

Within their first year of marriage they decided to close Aaron's business in New York and move to Curacao. Aaron's father had a large retail business on the Islands and needed someone to take over the operation.  

The first question that came up was what to do about Mikvah on Curacao. Although the first Synagogue in the western world was built in Curacao in 1664, the mikvah on its premises had not been used in many years. In fact, the Synagogue was now a museum which was being run by Reconstructionist Jews.

We got Laurie a heter, rabbinical permission, to use the ocean as a mikvah. As Aaron and Laurie were very enthusiastic supporters of Family Purity, we blessed them that they should eventually build a Kosher mikvah on the island. Soon after their arrival on the island, Aaron and Laurie took a very active role in the religious activities on Curacao.

Shortly thereafter, Aaron began making plans to build his own home on the island. After much discussion with Laurie he approached me to inquire about the feasibility of building a kosher mikvah in his new home. We totally encouraged him by stressing the importance of such a project and I put him in touch with Rabbi Isaac Trieger who is one of the foremost experts on Halachot and construction of mikvaot in America.


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RELATED CATEGORIES

Life Cycle » Marriage » Family Purity » Inspirational Tales

Mitzvah
(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Teshuvah
Repentance. Or, more literally, "return" to G-d. Teshuvah involves regretting the past and making a firm resolution not to repeat the offense.
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.
Halachot
Laws governing the Jewish way of life.
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.
Ashkenazi
(pl. Ashkenazim). A Jew of Northern or Eastern European ancestry.
Sephardic
(adj.) A Jew whose ancestors stem from Southern Italy, Spain, Portugal, North Africa or the Arabian countries.
Hashem
"The Name." Out of respect, we do not explicitly mention G-d's name, unless in the course of prayer. Instead, "Hashem" is substituted.
Family Purity
Laws relating to intimacy between husband and wife. The primary point of Family Purity is the woman's purifying immersion in a ritual bath which allows the couple to resume intimate relations after the woman's menstrual period.