Women immersing on Erev Yom Kippur– What are you talking about?!?!
There is a tradition of women immersing in the mikveh before Yom Kippur for the sake of spiritual preparation for Yom Kippur. This is a way to “purify” one’s body in preparation for the holiest day, just as men do. Though we remain halakhically impure, it gives a time for spiritual focus and tefilla. It is completely unrelated to one’s niddah status and allows for us to experience the mikveh as a spiritual center.
Who can go?
Because this is just a minhag, many poskim believe that anyone can go– young and old, single and married, niddah and tehora. (Similar to the attendance of all men and boys on this day).
- The Mishneh Berura and the Ben Ish Hai expressly write that married and single women should immerse.
- Rav Ovadia Yosef and other contemporary Poskim oppose singles and women during their 7 “clean days” from immersing Erev Yom Kippur. Those prohibiting it do so mainly to prevent a woman feeling that this immersion removes her niddah status (or the need for the 7 clean days); other reputable poskim allow all women to immerse since it is unrelated to niddah.
- Some women find immersing in a mikveh while bleeding inconceivable, and they don’t. They can follow the recommendation of the Pninei Halacha to take a long shower with 11-13 liters of water and to ensure that the water covers all parts of the body.
The Eden Center finds it a wonderful opportunity to introduce the mikveh to your daughters in a spiritual yet non-sexually focused format. Girls should be accompanied by their mothers and can wear a bathing suit if they feel more comfortable that way. [Read more…]