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Living Mikvah

by Rabbi Tzvi Freeman

  

Library » Life Cycle » Marriage » Family Purity » The Benefits | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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There is nothing more holy in this world, nothing more precious to its Creator, than the union of a man and a woman. It is, after all, the fountain of life. What could be more precious than life -- other than the source from which life comes?

And it is holy -- because the first, pristine creation of a human being was as male and female as a single whole. That is the way we exist in G-d's mind. And so, none of us can achieve wholeness until we regain that original oneness in both body and soul.

Precious things are kept in sealed boxes. Roses hide behind the thorns. There are clothes you wear to work or play, but there are also treasures in your wardrobe so beautiful, of such value, that they come out only at special times, under specific conditions. The union of a man and a woman is so precious that if it is treated casually, without conditions or boundaries, it becomes ugly and even destructive.

Which all goes to explain why in the Jewish way of life there is a cycle of union and separation between husband and wife. And why the most important institution of Jewish life, next to the home, is the Mikvah that stands at the vortex of that cycle. Because precious things only stay beautiful when you follow the manufacturer's instructions.

The union of a man and a woman is so precious that if it is treated casually, without conditions or boundaries, it becomes ugly and even destructive
Enhancing Marriage

There is a very practical reason, as well, to keeping these rules: They keep things sparkling. After all, even swimming with tiger sharks can get pretty dull if it's the daily fare. On the other hand, a plain stone, if it's withheld for a while, becomes a coveted jewel. Modesty and the period of separation inject that flavor of the forbidden into a relationship.

Consistently, couples report their relationships rejuvenated when they start living by the rules of separation and mikveh. Perhaps that's why mikveh parking lots have become so crowded in the past few decades as more and more young couples make it a part of their lives -- some who have no other formal Jewish observance.

A Spa for the Soul

Today's mikveh looks more like a fashionable spa than a ritualarium. Luxurious bath and powder rooms, complete with commode, bathtub and vanity have become the standard. Fresh towels, disposable slippers, a comfortable robe, soap, shampoo, nail clippers and all the other essentials necessary are usually provided.


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Talmud
Usually referring to the Babylonian edition, it is a compilation of Rabbinic law, commentary and analysis compiled over a 600 year period (200 BCE - 427 CE). Talmudic verse serves as the bedrock of all classic and modern-day Torah-Jewish literature.
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.
Chabad
Chabad, an acronym for Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding, is the name of a Chassidic Group founded in the 1770s. Two of the most fundamental teachings of Chabad are the intellectual pursuit of understanding the divine and the willingness to help every Jew who has a spiritual or material need.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.
Rebbetzin
Rabbi's wife.