The mikveh is a Jewish ritual bath. Bathing in its water is part of a bride’s preparation for a wedding, setting the tone for spiritual intimacy in her marriage. It is a purification process and it creates a sense of connection to God.
In his article “Spirituality and Intimacy,” at mikvah.org, Rabbi Raphael Aron states, “Between woman and God, Family Purity represents a special connection, a private relationship with her Maker. Mikveh introduces a sense of intimacy into the woman-God relationship, a union and connection that has no other parallel in Jewish law or experience. Immersion in a mikveh creates a oneness with God; it is a spiritual intimacy which sets the tone for and precedes the intimacy she can only then enjoy with her husband.”
Rabbi Yossi Laufer and his wife, Shoshanna Laufer, are co-directors of Chabad of West Bay – Chai Center, in Warwick, which has a new mikveh. Bringing a mikveh to Warwick was a community effort, with 100 families in the area making financial contributions.
Laufer said, “This was a West Bay community project. We all wanted to make it more accessible for people in our area to enrich their spirituality. But you don’t have to be religious to use the mikveh. Going to a mikveh before one’s wedding is for anybody at any level – an experience that belongs to everyone.”
Laufer said that the mikveh figures in three areas of Judaism: law, spirituality and tradition, and immersion in its waters can be part of any of them, or all three.
He said, “When a woman goes to the mikveh before the wedding, she is bonding with God and is fully aware of the spirituality in marriage. It is a special mitzvah, and using the mikveh can help bring the relationship to a more spiritual level.”
Shoshana Laufer said, “You are connecting yourself to women of all generations before that used the mikveh from the beginning of time. You are preparing to build a Jewish home, which is the most important place to practice Judaism.
“The mikveh is a foundational part of Judaism. Going to the mikveh before your wedding is like bringing it into the relationship, and brings a lot of blessings. Through the mikveh, you are affirming your spiritual foundation and connection to God.”
The mikveh is sometimes called a spiritual spa, and on the website rabbiwarwick.com, it has this lovely tagline: “Transforming waters: Reawaken the soul, marital intimacy and connection with Judaism.” Those three tie into the goals of a Jewish life; as Rabbi Laufer said, “We should have health, happiness and prosperity!”
PATRICIA RASKIN hosts “The Patricia Raskin Show” on Saturdays at 3 p.m. on WPRO, 630 AM/99.7 FM and on Mondays at 2 p.m. on voiceamerica.com. Raskin is a board member of Providence’s Temple Emanu-El.