Out of the Water – Into the Light

Post by Melissa

I recently was able to spend a Shabbat afternoon with some college students who had a lot of questions.  They started the day asking my insights and reflections on some things the Chabad Rabbi at their university had told them that didn’t seem right to them*.  They needed some extra viewpoints and insights from someone who approached Judaism and Jewish learning from a more similar standpoint. After some time, the boys felt compelled to take naps and it was just some girls left. That’s when things got interesting.

We talked about Mikvah**! {gasp} I know it’s traditionally seen as totally immodest to speak about mikvah publicly so if you think that, kindly stop reading now. If you are interested in hearing about the conversation – keep reading… While I will never share specific details about when I’m going, etc – I think it is a super important topic for all women.

We talked about the scrutiny of some mikvah attendants, about the laws of Niddah (family purity), and the overall value add of going to mikvah monthly.  We discussed the lack of true community mikvaot and why it’s an issue. We rounded out the conversation with the topic of privacy.  That one really hit the young women I was with.  They could not understand why mikvah had become such a secretive thing and why no one will ever talk about it.  They were so grateful for our candid conversation and left with even more questions. I have no doubt this is but one of many conversations I will have with these women on this topic.

One step better, these women will go back to their university and sorority and keep having these discussions.  They will keep the thoughts about Judaism, women, and mikvah in their thoughts and conversations for days and weeks ahead. These young women are now more educated on mikvah practice and how it affects life than many kallahs (brides) about to go for the first time.

We do not teach enough about it and women are afraid to ask questions.  Married women (and people going to mikvah for the first time for conversion) often do not know what they are about to experience.  We tend to spend so much time focused on the minutia of preparation that we leave no room for discussion of the experience. We shroud it in immodesty and privacy such that no one feels they can ask questions.  Well, I’m pulling down the veil and opening myself up. If you ever have questions, feel free to email me (address in sidebar) and we can talk, and if I do not have the answer, I will find it for you. I think it is too important a topic to the lives of too many Jewish woman.

*No, I am nowhere near qualified to overtake what a Rabbi has said, but they asked questions and I answered based on my knowledge and gave them sources to look at.

** For more information on mikvah check out mikvah.org

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One thought on “Out of the Water – Into the Light

  1. kol hakavod! someone needs to be speaking about mikvaot in the general, non-personal sense. it is time to embrace what can be a beautiful mitzvah, instead of relegating it to dark closets and whispers.

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