There is an expression in Hebrew: “Al Rosh Haganav Boer Hakova” – on the burglar’s head is a burning hat, translated from Yiddish אויפן גנב’ס קאפפ ברענט דאס היטל, the guilt of the burglar shows on his face. This is the way I feel each time my mikveh night falls out on Shabbat evening. I walk the streets alone, not in the direction of my shul and I am sure that it is written all over my face that my destination is the mikveh! How embarrassing?! If I’m holding a bag I am sure that everybody has X-Ray vision and can spot my towel inside, and if I’m not holding anything I am sure that it looks even more suspicious. As the passers-by wish me “Shabbat Shalom” I prepare explanations, excuses, of where I am going…. “To visit a friend who is in town”, “I’ve run out of chrain for the fish”, “Going to visit a relative who isn’t feeling well”. I’m aware that many women feel the same. Perhaps these feelings cause some women to postpone their Friday night tevilla(immersion)? [Read more…]
Immersion before Yom Kippur
We traditionally immerse 3 times. Here is one possible framework to use for an immersion on Erev Yom Kippur:
1st Immersion: Reflection and Retrospection
Think about positive aspects of the previous year and areas of your life where you felt blessing. Think about what you want to take with you, what you are thankful for and what things were most meaningful over the past year. Appreciate God’s role in those and invite His Presence to envelop those thoughts as the mikveh water surrounds and embraces you. You can also choose an area or behavior that you would like to improve and invite God into that endeavor.
2nd Immersion: Introspection and Acceptance
Focus on the present—embrace where you are now. Give thanks and appreciate the space or processes you are in; recognize the blessings God has bestowed upon you, and embrace the special opportunities at this time of year.
3rd Immersion: Hopes and Direction
The final immersion focuses on your hopes and aspirations for the coming year— what you want to work on, your dreams for yourselves and your family, and what you will strive to accomplish. Again, invite God to partner with you in the journey ahead as you submerge and submit to His Will
On Yom Kippur eve, amid the hustle and bustle of logistics and preparations, I took a moment for myself and left the house to go immerse in the mikveh. This is the first time that I had ever thought of this idea.
Where Did I Come From?’
By: Peter Mayle
Illustrated by: Arthur Robins
Designed by: Paul Walker
Published by: Lyle Stuart Inc.
‘Where Did I Come From’ takes its readers on the full baby making journey- from sex (referred to in the book as ‘making love’) to fertilization, through nine months of pregnancy, labor and childbirth. The book, written for children, offers fundamental information while spicing the facts with good humor throughout! [Read more…]
It is always difficult to know how and when to raise the idea of niddah with children, but this week’s parsha can help. Many may be reluctant to discuss the parsha this week, thinking that it is not suitable for children, but we encourage you to use it as a safe and neutral teaching experience. Rav Yosef Toledano, who teaches 3rd graders in Mamad Torani Ariel in Modiin presents a beautiful model of how to discuss issues of niddah and teuma(impurity). We thank the Rav for allowing us to publish his ideas on the subject. We have much to learn from the way he treats his students, the Torah and the human body with the utmost dignity. [Read more…]