July 7th 2015. Updated January 31st 2018 By Deborah
I used to love mikveh. In fact when I was getting married, the thing I was most excited for, more than anything else about the wedding, was to go to the mikveh. I could not wait to wash away the years of impurity from my body and prepare myself fully to commune with Hashem (and my husband). It was no less than I expected. Those warm waters washing over me like a wave of fresh air. I emerged from the mikveh a new person. I had been reborn. And I couldn’t wait to go back.
I only went back two more times when I could truly feel the mitzvah in its entirety. Enjoy the preparation. The separation. The counting down the days., I was doing a mitzvah all on my own and no one else knew. Just me, Hashem, my husband. A perfect little threesome. Our little secret. I would enjoy the day of mikveh as if it was my wedding day again. Pamper myself all day, take time off work, and prepare to feel that reconnection with myself and God that were so necessary for me and my husband to be close. Feel the waters. The rush. The swish. The holiness. The excitement. The bliss.
After the third time I got pregnant. The next 6 years I was either pregnant or nursing and only went to the mikveh a handful of times. And all the times I went I was so rushed, exhausted and totally out of my mind with baby brain that it’s a miracle I got there at all. But, I still loved it. I still loved the notion of cleansing the impurities from my life and starting over. A rebirth so real that sometimes I could literally feel the anger, frustration or any other trait I didn’t like, washing off of me like dirt. And I would come out, clean, pure and ready to try again. Ready to work with my husband once again at living holiness.
Then my husband was severely injured in a work accident. He entered into a state of constant pain. Our lives were changed forever. He slept almost constantly during those following years as it was the only thing that would stop the pain. I stopped nursing. Stopped being pregnant. Stopped the cycle of life entering our life and began the process of trying to stave off death. And for the first time in my life, began going to the mikveh on a regular monthly basis. This time, mikveh was a chore. Married to a husband in so much pain physically, spiritually and emotionally that he could have cared less if I went. In a situation in life where my only desire was to keep afloat. Every day survival, who can deal with this extra burden of having to fulfill mikveh when our life is so hard as it is? Busy? Beyond belief. Overwhelmed. Overburdened. Spiritually aching. How could I worry about doing bedikot, wearing white underwear and doing mikveh prep when I barely had time to sleep? But. I kept doing it. My husband didn’t care, he was in too much pain to even notice if I went. Mikveh was no longer a mitzvah for him. It was now a mitzvah purely for me. A true mitzvah. Ivdu et hashem b’simcha. Do our mitzvot with joy. At first I felt guilty, there was no joy left in this mitzvah for me. For almost a year I went and prayed and just kept begging Hashem to please let me get through going and the aftermath of my husband being asleep (as usual) when I came home. I davened that He would carry me through. See my desire to fulfill His will despite all else and maybe that, maybe that would be the merit we needed to return our lives to how they used to be. Maybe that would tip the scales. [Read more…]