Q & A Board - View Post
Author:  Lipman
E-mail:  not available
Date:  12/19/2004 5:54:00 AM
Subject:  Jacuzzi
Message:  Kevod horav shlite,

I'ven seen a lot of statements here that seemed reasonable to me, concerning both haloche and "hashkofe". Then I encountered allusions to jacuzzi/swimming pools being kosher as a mikve under certain circumstances. Would you explain these circumstance, please? I'm asking leshem limmud, not in order to fabricate a blank hetter.

Thanking you in advance,

Reply:  The basic idea is that piping does not render a Mikveh not Kosher these days, since our piping is attached to the house and/or ground.
There are however issues that need to be addressed. The water must have come from a river, a resevoir, an ocean, a lake, or anything other than "drawn water." If the first few hundred gallons come from a hose that comes from your home piping, that comes from the local water supply, then the pool is fine. The problem will be if it is initially filled by a tank truck, which in the present days it is a common practice in order to fill it with pre-cleaned water and allow you to use the pool immediately, that would be a problem.

The fact that we do not use a regular swimming pool as a Kosher Mikveh for women is an added "Chumra." (an extra restriction).
It is not based in Jewish Law. The Ra"sh is very clear about it being Kosher (Hilchot Mikvaot #12). The Shulchan Aruch and the RAM"A are clear that it is fine (Yo"D 201:48). Even the Nodeh Beyehuda who is the strictest in this issue would agree that the pool is good in our scenario where the piping is attached to the house &/or the ground, since it is made to be attached that way.

The process that makes water not Kosher for a Mikveh is if the first waters contain water drawn by a "Keli." This would include a pail or a cup or a tank. It would not include piping that is attached to the ground.

But there are some other issues.

A Mikveh must have the ability for a person to go completely under water at one time. The ideal is to have the water level at a height of one foot above the person's navel. This could be 48" to 56" or so. However, if the pool is wide enough, it can be fine at a lower height. In any case this is not enough of an issue to make it not Kosher. If the water is high or wide enough to fit into it and be able to be completely submerged without even any hair sticking out of the water and without needing to bend into abnormal acrobatic positions, then it is OK. The fact that a person will have such a pool available to them but will wait a day or so in order to go to a so-called "more Kosher" Mikveh, that in itself is against the law. Most people outside Brooklyn do not live close enough to a Mikveh to be able to go on a Shabbat or Holiday, so they push it off till afterwards. If they can go to a pool that is Kosher, then they are required to go. One of our biggest Mitzvot (Commandments) is the requirement to reproduce. This is our contribution to the continuity of the planet, and thus the continuity of God's master plan. Playing with our ability to observe this Mitzvah is a dangerous game. Adding any extra restrictions to people will have a direct negative result toward this master plan.

Don't forget the reverse side of the coin. Being that this Mitzvah is so important, the opposite is also very severe. This means that the related sins of not going to the Mikveh, or in not being able to hold out until the Mikveh is a very severe sin. If we unnecessarily restrict people and cause them not to go to the Mikveh at a specific time or tell them they are a Niddah when they are not and the like, then we risk them not being able to abstain from each other causing this severe sin. As I said, "a dangerous game."

Now look at it a bit further. If we force the people to go to a Mikveh that is not sanitary, we cause them to feel this whole thing is "barbaric." If we require them to go into a small Mikveh that was used several hours ago by men, then we will cause them to either hate this religion or not go to the Mikveh. Rav Shamshon R. Hirsch has a Teshuva forbidding the men from going into a Mikveh that woman use. There is our favorite "Kol Hamosif Gore'a." (He who adds restrictions, essentially or eventually subtracts)   The man is not required to go to a Mikveh today, but many have made it into an extremely holy Mitzvah for men. Then in their holiness they cause hundreds of women to drop the whole Mikveh thing completely.

Then to add insult to injury, if a woman finally gets together enough guilt and actually goes to a local official Mikveh, the Mikveh lady can often remind her why she stopped going in the first place. There are some very good Mikveh Ladies. I am talking about the type that we unfortunately see too many times. They determine the laws that you must follow. They cut your nails until it bleeds. They are often unsanitary. It seems that many think that this is a Mitzvah. They are dictators in their little Mikveh world. They do the "look you up and down" thing. You begin to wonder what drives a woman to go for a career in this field, and what schooling is required. If a woman comes in dressed a bit "normal," or driving a car that is less than 5 years old, then they often risk being looked down at. They come in and realize that they don't belong and eventually stop coming at all.

In light of these unfortunate realities, we need to be honest and help the people keep God's laws without the pain and frustration currently associated with them. People often look at our religion and then look at the actions of so-called religious Jews and say, "I am not going to be a part of this. These people are clearly wrong and I am not going to join them." In reality the actions of any people should not reflect on God or on your religion. Everyone was given a choice to do right or wrong. In Israel the Israelis look at some of the "Chareidim" (ultra-religious) and see arrogance, coldness, and self-righteousness. They say keep me away from these guys and their religion and their God, too. I say that you are hurting yourself in the mix. Why do you let them hijack YOUR GOD? They don't have a monopoly on God. You say to them that they can keep God and his Torah. But why don't you just let them keep their ridiculous practices, their arrogance, and their ideas that they own God?

You are a creation of God and guess what, you are intelligent enough to see that what you have seen is not God's will nor his intent. You are already a step ahead in the game. Now don't let what they think affect you. You are in it for your own personal responsibilities and connections with God. You know there is a Creator. You know he has set some rules. You know that what "those people" do is not God's intent. Great! Now don't stop at that and shut down all systems. Now say to yourself, "what is God's intent?" That is what we try to bring to you here on Kashrut.org. This is at the expense of threats that our children will not get Shidduchim and various other insults and the like. This comes from what I like to call, "the religious wrong!"

The Jewish ones on the left are usually the ones that got sick of it and left. The religious right is usually the religious wrong....

Keeping the Torah and being a "Tzaddik," is easy. Following all the laws 100% is not a complex goal and is easily attainable to anyone, over a little time.

The laws of Kashrut without the extras are relatively simple. The laws of Shabbat and the day of rest it provides takes a little getting used to, but is essentially one of Judaism main perks rather than a restriction. My employees over the years have always been jealous of that forced day of rest. The hardest thing to keep is the man/woman relations issues, especially if you are new to it. If these laws are as the requirements are without all the additives, then they are able to be adhered to and actually add a certain excitement and attraction to a marriage. This takes an act that on one hand can be a severe sin and turns it into a most beautiful Mitzvah. People that can make that distinction and understand this, do this Mitzvah with a special appreciation and are usually rewarded by God with children that have special Neshamot (souls).

In light of all this, I think it is essential for us to know how and when a pool is a Kosher Mikveh. Here are the basics.

You need to know how it was initially filled with water after the last time it was emptied. If it was by hose and attached piping, it is OK.

Then it must be large enough to fit into completely.

A woman can go into a Mikveh with her bathing suit. Any clothing can be worn into a Mikveh, as long as the water still reaches the body. (Shulchan Aruch YO"D 198:46)

There is no need for a "Mikveh Lady." Just have someone there or some way to ensure that you are fully submersed including your hair, all at one time.

You can use a lake or the ocean. Again, you can wear a bathing suit.

I am sure many of us have questions about the various pools, jaccuzzis, lakes, and so on. I welcome your emails and I will gladly help you with any of these questions

Just remember that we are all capable of and expected to bring our observances gradually to 100% observance. It is not hard. There are no uniforms required to be worn. No clothing styles. No neighborhoods necessary to live in. Just where
you are now, as you are, within your environment, you can and should be observing God's laws.

It's relatively easy. Allow us to help you.

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