My Mikveh Night and the Poway Shooting by Anonymous (4-Minute Video)

My Mikveh Night and the Poway Shooting by Anonymous (4-Minute Video)

One California JewishMOM’s unforgettable Mikveh experience and reflections on Poway.

This morning I received the following letter from a JewishMOM who lives in California:

Shalom Chana Jenny,
This past Thursday night was my mikveh night.
When I got to the mikveh, I saw a couple of women I know from shul in the waiting room. And then I noticed a woman there who looked, well, different from the rest of us. She looked like she was around 20 and single, with long brown hair, uncovered. I wondered what she was doing there.
After I’d gotten myself ready in the preparation room, I stood by the door waiting for the mikveh lady to bring me into the mikveh room next door so I could immerse and rush back to my family and relatives who would soon be waiting for me to start the meal.

And as I stood by the door leading to the mikveh, I heard the mikveh lady speaking with a young woman, whom I understood was the woman I had mistaken for being single.
That young woman told the mikveh lady the following, “This is my first time going to the mikveh since the night before I got married 6 months ago. I am terrified of immersing in the mikveh. A relative of mine died after drowning, and I do not know how to swim. My husband asked me to please try to go to the mikveh, so I am here, but I am so, so scared…”
And then I heard the mikveh lady, slowly, slowly, talking this terrified young woman, step-by-step into the mikveh (“Don’t worry,” she told her, “I know how to swim! If necessary I will jump into the mikveh after you and help you!”)
Through the door, I could hear the young woman crying. She was scared out of her mind.
And I could hear the mikveh lady’s awe-inspiring patience and understanding. “Now go down one more step,” she told her, “just say to yourself ‘I am performing a mitzvah!’ and focus on that. If you do that, you will not feel afraid at all…'”
And I? I stood in my preparation room, wrapped in a towel, shaking with sobs. Praying, praying for this terrified young woman, “Please Hashem, give her the courage! Make her strong! Don’t be afraid, you can do it!” I told her in my heart, “You can do it!”
When the mikveh lady called out “Kosher!” the walls of the mikveh vibrated with joy. With victory.
And when that brave young woman was done, and the mikveh lady finally opened my door and I stood by the mikveh, I was reminded of that night three thousand years ago when the Israelites stood at the edge of the Red Sea, the blood-thirsty Egyptian army in close pursuit with their swords raised. And just like Nachshon had overcome his terror and entered the Red Sea that night, step by step, until the water was up to his nose…And then, miraculously, the sea had split open. I felt like I, too, by immersing after that courageous woman, was following in Nachshon’s courageous path, across the sea, on dry land.
Dunking in the mikveh that night was probably the most intensely moving immersion of my life. In the mikveh, I prayed, “Hashem, give me courage, like her! Hashem, help me to overcome my own fears, like she did!”
When I came out of the mikveh, I told the mikveh lady, my eyes red with tears, “What a zechus to immerse after that heroic woman!”
And the mikveh lady shook her head with clear admiration, “Mesirus Nefesh!”
Deeply moved, I returned to my home where everyone was waiting for me to make kiddush. Thankfully, nobody asked me what exactly had taken me so long…
And over the rest of the holiday, I couldn’t stop wondering why Hashem had sent me that powerful experience on my mikveh night. Why did I need that empowering burst of courage to overcome fear when I couldn’t think of anything I felt afraid or particularly worried about.
And then, right after the holiday and Shabbat ended, I read about the antisemitic shooting attack a few hours from where I live at the Chabad house in Poway. All of a sudden, living as a Jew, even in places that we thought were completely safe, like California, feels newly terrifying. And that’s scary. For all of us.
But all we can do, I think, like Nachshon, and like that terrified woman who was so determined to immerse before me this past Thursday night, is take one step in front of the other, into the water. Holding Hashem’s hand as He guides us to the other side.

Have a great week!

4 comments

  1. So powerful! “Who is like your nation Hashem!A unique nation on the earth.”

  2. Beautifully expressed!

  3. Amazing! I knew a woman like this who every month fought a terrifying fear of water to use the mikvah. We should only be zocheh for much simchah and joy for all of us!

  4. Sharona

    Thank you Anonymous Jewish Mom for sharing this awe inspiring experience, and for giving all of us such wonderful chizuk.

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