Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Family Purity: The Mikvah Project


While there are in fact 613 commandments in the Torah, there are probably three main areas that hold a Jewish home in balance.

These three main areas are:

  1. Kashrut – Eating Kosher food only.
  2. Shabbat – Observing the holiness of the 7th day of the week by refraining from certain things and by actively doing others.
  3. Niddah – Family Purity – Those laws concerned with the time periods when husband and wife can be together, when they must separate, and how they conduct themselves with each other during all these periods – including those times they spend completely alone with each other only.
If a Jewish home is in need of peace, it is of utmost necessity that as a basis, these three areas are observed in the best possible way. This does not detract from the husband praying 3 times daily, wearing Tefillin and Tzizit (all day,) not speaking inappropriate things etc.

However, in order to fulfil these Mitzvot money is required. Not to mention the rare cost of purchasing a Sukkah, the yearly cost of a beautiful Esrog and Lulav, the regular cost of purchasing new Tzitzit, the cost of Tefillin and Rabbeinu Tam Tefillin for those wishing to follow the Chassidic custom of wearing two pairs of Tefillin, the cost of food(!) and the additional costs for Shabbat, there is one most special Mitzvah which costs money once a month.

In fact, without this Mitzvah being performed properly, one can literally say goodbye to the holiness that surrounds a Jew throughout his life. The Alter Rebbe in Tanya explains that through the observance of the laws of Niddah correctly, one merits to draw down beautiful souls. Of course, he also mentions in the name of the holy Arizal that these same holy souls can enter bodies even when things were not observed correctly. However, there is a garment that surrounds the soul which interacts with it continuously. When the laws of Niddah are fulfilled as they should be, this layer is pure and as a result, the way that a Jew thinks throughout his/her life is so much clearer. The ability for such a person to connect with G-d becomes easier.

We could think of this layer as a literal thick or think garment that protects (surrounds) the soul (much like a garment can protect the body during summer or winter depending on its thickness.) A thick garment during the summer is about as good as a thin garment during the winter. In order to live correctly, one needs the correct garment for the season.

In this world, the season for the soul is summer. It needs a thin garment that allows it to still feel the presence of G-d. The more gross and thick this garment is (dependant on the parents fulfilment of the laws of Niddah right up until the very moment of conception – and onwards) the more difficult it becomes for the soul to recognise G-d in the world and to feel drawn to fulfilling the Mitzvot. The garment is formed particularly at that time when the couple are completely alone and together.

Before being together, a Jewish woman must immerse in a kosher Mikveh – a body of a specified minimum amount of natural rain water. There are many laws to the kosher Mikvah which can be learned about through a variety of books. Nevertheless, much like a driver does not need to know how his car works, but simply steps on the gas and goes (leaving the mechanics to the mechanics!) so too does a Jewish woman immerse in a kosher Mikvah whether she knows the mechanics of it or not.

The cost involved in constructing such a pool of water is enormous! While many families today may be able to afford Jacuzzis and the like, it is unlikely that the average woman will purchase her own Mikvah (although there are indeed a few who do!)

Instead, one communal Mikvah is constructed in each area where Jewish people live, and when women use this Mikvah, they contribute a nominal sum which helps in the construction fees and upkeep.

Although nominal, it can be quite expensive to the average woman to have to pay. Costs for every day items today are high, let alone the “extra” amounts we must pay to fulfil Mitzvot.

Imagine however, that a Jewish woman would love to be able to fulfil this Mitzvah, but lacks the funds. As a result, she may choose not to follow through with all the Niddah laws (Rachmana Litzlan,) and as a result be unable to take part in the process of drawing down a soul from above in a way of holiness. As a result, the soul drawn down into this world lacks the necessary sensitivity to experience the G-dliness – gained by those brought down into the world in ways of holiness.

For just a few dollars (together with women observing all the laws of Niddah), a Jewish woman is able to bring even further goodness into the world by simply immersing in a Mikvah – a beautiful and welcoming experience which most often makes a woman feel special for the unique role she plays in the Jewish family – nothing less than bringing holy Jewish souls into the world who illuminate it with goodness and kindness.

We have begun a “Mikvah Project”. The aim is simple: We provide additional funds to Mikvah centres, so that those who cannot afford the monthly expense, can immerse absolutely free!

For more information about this special project
see The Mikvah Project on our main web page.

For more information about the laws of Family Purity
or to schedule a learning session,
please contact Reb Eliyahu at

To purchase Rabbi Fishel Jacobs' book “Family Purity”, click HERE.

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