You Won’t Believe What Happened to Me at the Mikveh by Anonymous

You Won’t Believe What Happened to Me at the Mikveh by Anonymous

Ever since I read the article “Humiliated at the Mikveh” I’ve wanted to write up something about why I personally love mikveh and mikveh ladies. But like a lot of things I think of doing, I didn’t get around to it.

But then something happened yesterday that you are not going to believe, and I knew I had to share.

First, a little about me. I made aliya 15 years ago from Australia to a community near Jerusalem. When I first got married, I detested the Family Purity laws, it was so terribly difficult to not touch my husband for two weeks a month. But now, I feel so grateful that we gritted our teeth through those tough years and stuck it out, because my husband and I just celebrated our 22nd anniversary and we are still very physically attracted to each other. And without the periods of separation that Family Purity requires, I think that’s extremely rare.

But in general, for the past 22 years, I have loved loved loved going to the mikveh. I just wrote “love” three times, and here’s why:
1. How often in my busy life do I get to soak myself in a bath for an entire half an hour? Between my kids and my career and my house and my errands, the answer is NEVER. And when I go to the beautiful, newly-built mikveh in our community, I feel like I’m visiting the spa. A bath with no little fists knocking down the door! Pure Heaven!
2. I love the excitement of going to the mikveh—the excitement of dunking in the mikveh and becoming spiritually pure as well as the excitement surrounding the long-awaited event that will take place later that night.
3. I enjoy the atmosphere in the mikveh. It feels like a secret club that everybody goes to but nobody ever talks about. And that secret club is run by the mikveh ladies whom I’ve always found to be sincere, good-hearted, and dedicated.

“Humiliated at the Mikveh” sparked a lot of negative comments about mikveh ladies. It seemed like some women feel like if you know the halachos, and you’ve checked yourself thoroughly, then why is it necessary for a Mikveh lady to be there at all?

So last night I found out why.

Last night at the mikveh I spent longer than usual in the bath—around 45 minutes and did all of my preparations. I have a big problem with loose hairs that get stuck on my back, so after I got out of the bath I spent a minute or two looking at my back in the mirror and picking off the hairs.

And then I rang the bell, and the mikveh lady came to take me to the mikveh. It was “Devora,” a mikveh lady I’ve become friendly with over the past 15 years living in the same community.

Devorah’s oldest daughter is getting married this week, so I asked her about the preparations for the wedding ,and, as usual, I asked her to check my back for loose hairs. And then she said, “What’s this? Look at that!”

And I felt Devora pull something off my lower back and then she presented it to me on the tip of her finger…

It was a sticker from a tangerine!

I guess it had been so low on my back that I hadn’t seen it in the mirror. And no, I have absolutely NO IDEA how a tangerine sticker ended up on my lower back.

But anyway, I told you that I love, love, love going to the mikveh. And I told you that I have always appreciated mikveh ladies and their hard work to help us keep this most crucial of mitzvos.

But now I appreciate them even more. So on behalf of all us married Jewish women I wanted to just say, “Thank you!”:)

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20 comments

  1. Rachael Leah Harris

    Awesome awesome post! Such a hilarious story, this one’s a keeper to be passed down mother to daughter! Thank you!

  2. Yay! A positive post about the Mikva- how utterly refreshing 🙂 Thank-you for sharing (Anonymous) and for posting (CJ) 🙂

  3. Awesome, heartfelt, and so, so funny!

  4. never thought about the “secret club” factor! It’s definitely a club that every Jewish woman should be proud to be a member of:)

  5. Wow, what a story. Thank you!

  6. I also love going to the mikvah. I especially love the fact that my spiritual status changes once I’ve dunked.

  7. The best part of the whole annoying process is the nice mikva lady.

    And sorry to disagree, but I really don’t think that keeping this mitzva adds anything to my marriage. Probably, whether it helps or hurts is dependent on the couple’s personalities. But saying that this mitzva keeps the marriage alive blah blah blah is doing a disservice to the huge percentage of women who share my opinion and can’t stand hearing women with your opinion tell us how wonderful it is.

    And guess what – we hear it waaaay too much.

    P.S. – A fair number of people who share my opinion also hate the mikva lady and every other part of the process.

    • Well, okay. I obviously don’t like the mikva lady better than I like walking in the door afterwards. But you get the point.

    • Incog Nito

      Little Duckies, I hate taharas hamishpacha. OK. Hate is a strong word. I have never enjoyed it. Not much in my life as a frum woman do I resent. But this I do. Maybe it’s my relationship with my husband, but I feel a violation of my privacy announcing I’m niddah, announcing when I can start counting, announcing my toiveling.

      But, I do not begrudge women who do enjoy the experience. I know it is I who am missing something, not something someone else is doing wrong. I hate it. I do it and I envy those who love it.

      Negative energy serves no constructive purpose. Its only goal is to be DEstrtuctive, and it ruins one’s own life. I have bad days when I am so mad at my kids. Not just angry, but mad as in insanely angry – where the things that come out of my mouth do not resemble anything a sane rational person would say. I try to stay silent after my rampage and tell them I cannot talk to them, I am too hurt and confused by their behavior, and that i am not going to be kind to them until i am no longer angry. But I will not let my kids’ hurtful behavior affect my whole life. It will not color my world and my discontent with them )or whoever is pissing em off at the moment) affect the rest of my life and others around me. It has nothing to do with me, and it has nothing to do with others. when you allow negative energy to have so much power, it takes over your life. It spills out into every thing you experience.

      • I understand what you’re saying but am not quite sure what it has to do with what I wrote.
        I personally don’t hate the mikva itself. I just really dislike the whole process leading up to it. However, my dislike of this mitzva is a “mild” case – from what I’ve seen, most women whose marriages aren’t made better by mikva have an extreme hatred for the entire subject. And that was what my last line was about – don’t tell me I’m extreme because I’m really not.

        However, I also know a lot more about the subject than a lot of women, plus I understand how it came to be this way, why, and most importantly, why we can’t change it – and that rabbanim aren’t so happy with it either.

  8. Whew! I thought you were gonna say she found something suspicious that you had to go to the dermatologist to have looked at….

  9. Terrific post. To anonymous, how thoughtful to take the time to share your attitude and experience. Our attitude colors our whole life. We can really see and feel the difference in the tone of the comments based on the writers’ attitudes. We can’t change anything in our life without first changing our attitude and that is the only thing we can control the rest is up to Hashem.

  10. I go to a mikveh for disabled women. The mikveh ladies there have amazing mesirus nefesh–helping to move wheelchair-bound women, putting on bathing suits in order to help them dunk. These women are dedicated, friendly, respectful, and full of yiras Shomayim. No matter what our opinion is of this mitzvah, the mikveh ladies are amazing!

  11. wonderful post, I also think about having quiet time to focus on my body and ‘get to know’ my physical self every time I am in the mikvah..and in general, though I’ve rarely found a mikvah woman to be overflowing with warmth, I find them to be professional, kind, and G-d-fearing, which is all I can ask for. If the nurses and other medical professionals I have needed over the years would be as discreet and respectful as the mikvah ladies I’ve used, I would have been spared many other uncomfortable situations.

  12. Love it love it love it 🙂

  13. Being a mikva lady in my community,I can honestly say that there is really no excuse for any mikva lady to deny a woman’s privacy.
    When I help a woman go down, I remove her robe and immediately hold it up in front of me, where I see only the top of her head. This way, I can see when she is ready to ‘dunk’, and make sure she is all the way down. During her bracha and tfilot, again the robe is up. I follow the top of her head as she comes out to re-robe her. Once, when I did this, the woman was so appreciative. She said I was the first mikva lady to do that… I was very surprised (and upset).

  14. Personally, I make my preparation time a time to cleanse, examine, and wash away all of my negative emotions and destructive thoughts. I make it a time to really relax and put myself in Hashem’s capable Hands.
    I want to say that this is a truly beautiful article, and it’s wonderful when someone loves a mitzva so dearly.I also want to applaud those who find mikva a difficult mitzva yet do it because Hashem said so. What am amazing nation Hashem has chosen!!

  15. I am in a situation where I need to take birth control that as a result I don’t get my period. But I told my husband that Hashem has a reason for prescribing separation and so we devised an agreement for that side of things, even tho I don’t need to go to the mikve. I’ve never been a fan of all the laws though I appreciated the benefits of separation and reunification and the divine wisdom behind it. The checking etc was becoming torturous though and I am grateful for the way things turned out…. Having said all that I never minded the mikve, and always had nice mikve ladies, I just really resented all the checking and laws of separation such as passing etc (even if they do increase intimacy ultimately) . As someone else wrote, it’s not the laws, I recognize their ultimate wisdom, it’s just me and my issues.

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