The Night Mikveh Saved My Life by Anonymous (Purim Semifinalist #2)

The Night Mikveh Saved My Life by Anonymous (Purim Semifinalist #2)

Adar 1976. I was a nineteen-year-old newlywed anxious to get home as quickly as possible to my husband when I ran towards the bus that night in Rechavia. Panting, I made it to the door, but the driver closed the door and drove away, leaving me in shock and tears.

My husband was waiting for me, my first mikveh night following our wedding. It was the night we had been waiting for.

I had left as early as I could for the mikveh in order to get home as early as possible to prepare a romantic dinner for the two of us.

But the waiting room at the mikveh had been packed, and the wait had turned into hours.

In those days there were few mikvaot in Jerusalem that catered to English speakers, so I waited and waited.

As the bus drove off down the street, my dreams of preparing the romantic dinner evaporated. It was so late, my husband was surely already home.

Standing on an empty street in the dark, my thoughts were racing with anger and frustration. If only that driver knew what an important night this was! All I wanted was to do was go home and cry!

An hour later, another bus finally pulled up. It was 10 PM by the time I finally arrived at the bus stop next to my home. I deleted the romantic dinner from my mind. Would cold cereal do?

With my mind swirling with anger and cereal I walked up to my building and saw two neighbors standing outside looking like the world had ended. They told me there had been a bomb on a bus. It took another minute for me to digest that… A bomb on a bus, people injured, people killed.

Suddenly another thought entered my mind: Hey, what bus was it? When my neighbors answered I almost fainted. The bomb had exploded on the bus I had missed!

From a naive young Kallah to a shaking aged woman I mounted the stairs to our apartment.

My husband opened the door for me, I rushed into his arms, and I felt His arms mingling with his arms.

Gratitude was longer in coming. It took a while for me to understand the unspoken voice whispering: “My dearest daughter, you did a mitzvah. Those who perform My mitzvot are protected as I, your Father, protected you.”

The author lives in Jerusalem’s Ramot neighborhood. She has 11 children and 13 grandchildren and works as a receptionist at a BioPharma company.


  1. It wasn’t mikva that saved her life, it was the annoyed bus driver. If she hadn’t gone to mikva, she wouldn’t even have been waiting for the bus.
    Guess the bus driver had a few zchuyot. 🙂

  2. Had she not gone to the mikva she would not have been anywhere near that bus. Don’t make everything into a miracle story

  3. Glad to hear the story ended well…for her…does this imply that those killed on the bus did not have sufficient mitzvot to their credit…slippery slope, that reasoning…happy Purim.

    • JewishMom

      I hear your question (I had the same one)… but I was thinking doing a mitzvah is like wearing a seatbelt. It keeps us safer, but people do die while wearing seatbelts. Similarly, people who are tsadikim and dedicate their lives to doing mitzvot all do eventually die. But mitzvot do, like seatbelts, provide a level of additional protection.

  4. HoustonIma

    I seriously feel like this ending is completely inappropriate and disrespectful to the people who lost their lives on that tragic bus. We don’t know what kind of mitzvot the people on the bus did, and one mitzvah is not better than another mitzvah. The implication that because she did a specific mitzvah that night merited her life being saved while others died is a terrible takeaway from this, and could lead a reader into thinking that because they go to mikvah, they are somehow “better” than others.

  5. If she feels mikveh saved her, that is her choice. None of us know the whys and hows of Hashem’s cheshbonos. It doesn’t mean that the people on the bus deserved to die, chas v’sholom. The wicked do the wrong things and sometimes the righteous suffer as a consequence. We should always live as if Hashem puts a protective shield around us, yet take all necessary precautions for our own health and safety. Otherwise we would live in constant fear and uncertainty. Having participated in the mitzvah of preparing people for burial we should all take the lesson that life is precious and should be filled with as many mitzvos as possible. A happy Purim everyone!

  6. The cynicism in response to this story is disappointing. Who are you to say it wasn’t a miracle she missed a bus that blew up? If you survived this you would probably have said the same thing. Personally, I do not believe in coincidences or ‘random’ occurrence. Our sages say we must think ‘the world was made for me.’ Because everything we experience as individuals is tailored by HKBH specifically for us — for learning, for cheshbon nefesh, for t’shuva.

  7. JewishMom

    So I spoke these issues over with my rabbi, Rabbi Da’vid Sperling, and he clarified a few things related to this post and the comments written in response to it.
    1. There are a many Jewish sources that say that when we perform mitzvot we are protected. Doing a mitzvah brings us closer to Hashem and that results in Hashem’s closer hashgacha over us.
    2. While it might be true that a person is protected because he performed a mitzvah, that does NOT mean at all that a person who was not protected did not perform a mitzvah. We cannot begin to fathom the big picture and Hashem’s accountings in this world. In fact, as strange as it sounds, sometimes being injured or killed is considered a good thing and a Divine reward on a spiritual level.
    3. When people die during times of war certain sources say that there is no “Cheshbon pratee”– personal accounting that leads to their deaths. That means that when soldiers or civilians are killed in war situations then it has no connection with who they were and anything they did.
    And a final thought from Rabbi Sperling… The debate that is taking place in these comments is one that has been taking place non-stop for several millenia of Jewish history. There has been endless discussion about the nature of Divine providence, the reasons for performing mitzvot, and individual destiny. And there are a multitude of Jewish sources debating these issues. It is so important to be thinking about these issues and learning more about them.

    So whether you agree or disagree that the author of this post experienced a miracle because she performed a mitzvah– then we still should thank her for getting us thinking and communicating about these basic issues that make up the core of Jewish belief:)

    • Just want to say – please take a look at Ramba”m’s perspective on hashgacha pratit versus hashgacha klallit.

      Also, my husband says that perhaps the merit was not the mitzva itself but the patience with which the mitzva was performed and the effort to user her time wisely. I didn’t see any record of how she used her time while waiting or the fact that she waited patiently – in fact, I would say she was impatient, because that’s how it sounded to me. So in other words, I think my husband is wrong. But he is probably trying to hint to me that I need more patience, irrespective of the story. 😀

  8. I think it’s a beautiful story!!! The author isn’t being judgemental, she is expressing her gratitude to Hashem and her strong feeling of His personal involvement in her own life on that particular night.

    • No one said she was being judgemental – just that a. the story could easily imply unkind things about those on the bus, and b. it’s not the mikva that saved her life. Obviously, she wasn’t, and isn’t, judging anyone. But when people write or tell a story, especially a story with a “lesson”, they need to make sure that it won’t be misunderstood or infer inappropriate things. That’s all.

      • I think you’re looking at this too physically. She didn’t mean that the mikveh itself, physically, saved her life, but rather that its merit did so–shluchei mitzvah einam nizokin.
        The other passengers may have had many more mitzvahs than she did, but were not on their way to/from directly doing a mitzvah. Or it could be that this particular mitzvah for her was very considerable, because of augmat nefesh, etc. We don’t know cheshbonot Shomayim–only Hashem does.

        • Right – we don’t know cheshbonot shamayim which is why we can’t say that this is why she wasn’t on that bus. But as I said earlier – if she hadn’t gone to mikva at all, she wouldn’t have been on the bus anyways.

          (P.S. – There was a bus incident that I wasn’t part of because I was lazy and decided to take a nap instead of setting out when I SHOULD have set out so that I could get everything done. It happened before I was married, so I promise it wasn’t mikva. And it was in the morning. Does that mean it’s a mitzva to be lazy? Of course not – it just means I wasn’t supposed to be on that bus and I wasn’t supposed to be in the area. Baruch Hashem.)

  9. In my mind this links to Purim because once again Hashem is pulling strings hidden behind the screen of life and in the end the miracle was revealed….

  10. This is a beautiful story. BH so many miracles!

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