The Secular Bride’s Chuppat Niddah by Rabbi Shai Naveh

The Secular Bride’s Chuppat Niddah by Rabbi Shai Naveh

The name of the groom, whose wedding I would be officiating at in an hour, popped up on my telephone display.
“Hey Gai, what’s up? Excited?”
“Rabbi, Keren and I are waiting for you, when will you get here?”
I didn’t understand why they were nervous, we’d decided that I would arrive twenty minutes before the chuppah, which was still an hour away.
“I’ll be there with you in ten minutes,” I told him.
When I arrived at the wedding hall, Gai and Keren looked very happy to see me and asked if we could talk as soon as possible in a side room, just the three of us. I still had no idea what was going on.
As we entered the office, the groom told me, full of anxiety and concern, that at noon that day Keren had gotten her period.
My heart went out to them, for their courage, their worry, their embarrassment.
And suddenly, I realized, they were concerned we would have to cancel the wedding. They were concerned because they really, truly wanted things to be done as Judaism required.
I calmed them down, embraced them (actually, him …). “It’s okay,” I told them, “We’ll go ahead with everything as planned.”
And I explained to both of them the halachic guidelines regarding this situation, and how Keren would soon be able to go again to dunk in the Mikveh as she had the night before.
Keren shared with us how excited she had been at the mikvah, that the mikveh attendant had been so lovely and kind. “Afterward, I didn’t even want to wipe the water off!”
I officiate at weddings for secular couples around once a month, and from these weddings I’ve learned many things. Among them, I’ve learned that for secular brides, the mikveh is often a special experience, marked by excellent mikveh attendants and clean, inviting mikvehs.
Keren, for one, assured her soon-to-be husband and me, “As soon as I can go to the mikveh, I’m going back, for sure.”

Rabbi Shai Naveh is a senior lecturer at Nishmat: The Jeanie Schottenstein Center for Advanced Torah Study for Women

2 comments

  1. Karen šŸ”† torrano

    I think that’s the sign of a true Jewish woman, secular or religious , because she is only doing this because Gd said to. It isn’t something the mind can understand.

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