I can still feel a tiny twinge of pain deep inside me as I reach my hand out to turn on the bath water. It’s not quite six weeks after my complete hysterectomy and I am still somewhat sore. The pain doesn’t really bother me, though. It’s negligible, basically non-existent compared to the emotional turmoil that churns inside my heart. Tonight is the last night that I will ever immerse in the mikveh for the mitzvah of taharat hamishpacha.
I gaze at my reflection in the mirror, partially hidden by the spreading condensation. It was just nine years ago that I stood in this exact spot, my body nearly trembling with the excitement of taking on a new mitzvah and a new stage of life. The excruciatingly ironic way my life has come full circle brings tears to my eyes. I swiftly swipe them away. It’s not the time for tears yet- I need to focus on committing every part of these next moments to memory.
The steam rising from the scalding water unfurls into opaque clouds that swirl around the bathroom. I take a deep breath, savoring the pure, thick air, and walk over to the light switch to shut the light. It is only in this womb-like environment that I feel safe enough to begin my preparations. [Read more…]