I am a fairly busy person. I am a busy woman and I can sometimes be a harried mother. I know that there are people busier than I am, and I know that different people cope with their lives and their stressors in different ways. Me? I don’t cope very well with being stressed, harried or burdened.
Having shared that, I can honestly say that anything that will save me time is ultimately saving me frustration, energy and very valuable mental space. So, when something comes along that saves me on all 3, I am very grateful and very into it.
One thing that gets me constantly and consistently is my Hefsek Taharah. It has to be done before sunset otherwise it doesn’t count; and sunset comes at what many refer to as “witching hour.” It is the time before/during dinner prep, it is the time when baths have to be taken, and homework should be finished. It is the time when my daughter is having a temper tantrum about God only knows what (we are talking about my tween so it really can be about anything and everything), my son is screaming about something. And my six-year-old is need of attention. My teenager is unavailable either because she is out having a life, or she is on her electronic device discussing her life. With all the normal hullabaloo of life, I don’t always remember to stop before shekiyah and do what I need to do. I have told my husband to call me and tell me that it’s shekiyah. In the event that I actually answer my phone, the conversation will most likely go like this.
Major noise of life at our house
“Tova it’s shekiyah in 2 minutes.”
“Tova, it’s shekiyah in 2 minutes.”
“Huh? Ok. Why are you telling me?”
“Tova…. Shekiyah…you asked me to remind you…”
“Remind me…. for what…”
“You know…. it’s shekiyah”
“Oh! Right! Thank you so much for reminding me!”
“Shekiyah is now…”
“I thought you said it’s in two minutes…?”
“That was 2 minutes ago.”
“Ok, thanks, bye”, and then I will run to our room with the intention of doing what I’m supposed to do but inevitably something will happen and I will get distracted (it doesn’t take much.)
We have come more times than I care to admit to when the sun has actually set, according to all the poskim. So, when I heard of an app that actually sets a reminder on my phone and to my email about shekiyah, I was very interested to find out more.
This app is called Mikvahcalendar.com and it is rabbinically approved by Gedoliim the world over. It is set up to accommodate different cities worldwide. It is also set up for different minhagim. (Litvish, Mizrachi, Chabad, Satmar, Rav Ovadia Yosef, and Rav Mordecai Eliyahu, to name a few) You can program it to send you a notification when shekiyah is, based on your current city, or based on your location. Based on your preferences you can set it up to tell you when yemei preisha are, and the earliest time you can do a hefsek, based on your minhag. Everyday of sheva niki’im it will send you a notification. You can also enter your husband’s phone number so he gets a notification as well, if that works for you as a couple. Thus, you are both involved and sharing in this sacred mitzvah. This app even has an anonymous ask the Rabbi section. A rabbi who sits and answers questions anonymously. (Because we’ve all been in that awkward situation…)
Full disclosure – I actually worked for Mikvahcalendar.com for a while. But even now that I don’t, I can tell you that I love this app for so many reasons. I love that I don’t have to sit with a pen and paper calculating. I love that it doesn’t take much space on my phone. I love that there are no ads. I love that I get reminders and thus it takes the load of remembering off my shoulders (And off my husband’s). I love that this app is an app for women created by a woman. But most importantly I love the time, the energy and the mental space it saves me. I love that it calculates the information for me. I feel lighter and freer with this app. This app is the critical bridge between the old traditions that we keep and the modern new world that we find ourselves in. What are you waiting for? Let’s bridge the gap.
The Eden Center does not back one app over another. Mikvahcalendar.com is, in fact, an excellent app, but there are other apps available which also perform similar functions. We recommend finding one that you like, which can help you make the niddah process easier.