When I go to the mikveh, I’m bored. I go, I soak, I read in the bath—by far my favorite part of the entire experience—I shower, I dunk, I leave. Recently, one of the balaniot at my local mikveh has started asking if I wanted to spend some extra time in the water before coming out. Every time I hear that offer, a part of me is thrilled that my community is offering this space and moment in time and that part of me hopes that people take advantage of it. The rest of me just says “No thank you” and gets out as fast as possible because obviously this is not for me.
I have a feeling I am not the only mikveh goer who finds the whole experience devoid of spirituality. Which is not to say that going to the mikveh is a bad experience for me. There is a vast gulf between inspiration and resentment, and I wonder who else lives with me in this space of resigned tolerance. It’s fine, we say, it’s no big deal. Halevai that apathy was the worst emotion that the mikveh ever evoked in those of us who visit it. And yet there is something disappointing about coming out of the perfectly heated mikveh and being left, well, cold. [Read more…]