Thursday, October 22, 2009

Women's Secret Mikvah Code

A Guest Post By HSM

Did you know there is a “mikvah code of silence”? Did anyone tell you about the mikvah code of silence, or did you just assume that was the way it needed to be If you see someone you know there, you don’t mention it to anyone afterwards. If you sit in the waiting room and chit chat while you wait your turn, you cannot talk about it to anyone. If you meet someone new – you can’t tell your husband that you made a new friend. If you recognize the license plates – keep shtum. If you hear some OMG IT’S SO AMAZING news that you want to rush and tell your hubby – you can’t without revealing your source. (just an aside, as I am typing this the word “Omerta”à keeps flashing through my head….)

We are taught that the mitzvah of mikvah is deeply personal and private. It’s a mitzvah that transitions us from a state of niddah (ritual impurity) to a state of holiness. From being unable to be with one’s husband, to full steam ahead…. It’s no one’s business when we go, when we have our period, when we don’t, no one checks up on your counting, to see if you are counting the days right – it’s a deeply personal mitzvah that is entrusted just to us women.

I know there are some people that bring friends / female family with them to the mikvah, that it is not a big secret, some people even tell their older kids. I don’t get that. The hard thing, sometimes, though is getting out of the house and giving a plausible explanation to where you are going. I have boys so they are mostly clueless. “Going to see a friend” usually does the trick.

I like knowing that this mitzvah is being kept by me and my husband, that no one else but God and the mikvah lady needs to know about it. In this day and age so much is publicized. We update our facebook and twitter with where we are, what we are doing and pictures of the food we just ate. I am a serial updater – social networking was made for me, but my going to the mikvah has no place being advertised to all and sundry.

Because I expect others I bump into at the mikvah to keep their mouths shut, I do the same. It’s reciprocal without it needing to have been spoken. Am I alone in this, or is this resonating with you?

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