The mikvah is the Jewish ritual bath, and is used for purification. A bride will traditionally go to the mikvah on the evening prior to her wedding so that she may begin her married life in a purified state. Grooms are not required to do this but many choose to do so, most often on the morning of the wedding or the Friday immediately prior to it. Orthodox law requires that brides visit the mikvah prior to their weddings. Many, but not all, Conservative rabbis require this as well.
What is a mikvah?
Any ‘living’ body of water may serve as a mikvah. A ‘living’ body of water is one which is continually replenished, such as a river, lake or sea. Some may choose to use such a body of water for their mikvah because of the spiritual atmosphere being outside may provide.
In order to complete the ritual of going to mikvah, persons must:
o Be entirely nude (remove all clothes, jewelry, hair accessories, etc.)
o Thoroughly clean themselves (brush their teeth, wash their hair and body, clean and trim their nails and remove any nail polish.)
o Immerse themselves completely, including all hair, in the water, and repeat the immersion either two or three times (customs vary.)
o Recite the blessing dedicated to the mikvah.
A wonderful source with more information about the mikvah is Mayyim Hayyim. Mayyim Hayyim is an intimate center for spirituality, learning, celebration, and community, an international model of Jewish creativity and vitality. Please visit http://www.mayyimhayyim.org/Using-the-Mikveh/Marriage for more information on using the mikvah.
And check out one girl’s experience and connection to her mikvah experience here!
Do you plan on going to the mikvah before your wedding day? Have an experience you’d like to share? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!