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Chapter Eight

The Immersion (Tívilah)

111. Must a woman go to a Mikvah, or can she immerse herself in a bathtub or swimming pool?

A woman definitely cannot immerse in a bathtub or pool. Unless the immersion takes place in a kosher Mikvah, the womanís status remains that of a Nidah. Every woman should, therefore, make sure that the Mikvah to which she goes is under constant Rabbinical supervision, since many problems can, and do, come up in the Mikvah which require the immediate and constant attention of a Rav.

112. What should a woman do if there is no kosher Mikvah in her vicinity?

Ideally, every Jewish couple should live in the vicinity of a kosher Mikvah. However, if there is no Mikvah in the vicinity, the woman must travel to the closest city which does have one, since she is forbidden to her husband until she immerses in a Mikvah. There are, in fact, many woman who travel great distances in order to fulfill this great Mitzvah. In regard to immersing in a lake, etc., a competent Rav should always be consulted.

The modern-day woman should realize that our modern Mikvah facilities help make the Mitzvah a very pleasant experience, as opposed to the hardships which our grandmothers endured when they had to break ice covering the lakes in the winter in order to fulfill this great Mitzvah.

113. Does a woman past menopause have to go to the Mikvah?

Regardless of the age of a woman, if she did not go to the Mikvah after her last period, she is living with her husband in sin. By not going to the Mikvah, she can, G-d forbid, bring great punishment upon herself and her husband. Such a woman only has to go to the Mikvah one time, after which she remains clean for the rest of her life unless she stains, has another period, or remarries. (See next paragraph.) It should be noted here that in case a woman past menopause remarries, she must go to the Mikvah before the wedding, as discussed in Question 208.

125. Before the immersion, is there anything else the woman should check?
The woman must check to make sure that her feet are completely clean before entering the Mikvah. She should, therefore, be careful not to step on any dirt which could invalidate her immersion. For this reason, it is important that the floor area between the bathtub and the Mikvah be kept completely clean.
126. After the immersion, may a woman wash herself?
No. After the immersion, a woman may not bathe or shower herself again that same night.
127. What is the procedure after the woman leaves the Mikvah?
After leaving the Mikvah, the woman should be careful that the first thing she meets is not a davar tamei (an unclean thing), such as a dog. It is also better not to first meet a Goy. There are some women who repeat their immersion if the first thing they meet is a davar tamei. Nowadays, though, where the woman first sees the woman in charge of the Mikvah after her immersion, this does not pose a problem.
128. After a woman has immersed in the Mikvah, is she automatically permissible to her husband?
No. She must first verbally tell him that she already immersed in the Mikvah. As long as she does not tell him this, he must regard her as a Nidah.
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