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Author:  Renee
E-mail:  not available
Date:  3/3/2005 10:14:00 AM
Subject:  Mikve Lady
Message:  I'm sorry, I didn't mean to give the impression in my last post that it was not important to remove any chatzizah from the body when a woman is preparing to dip in the mikve.

The Rebbetzin who taught the mikve ladies in NJ,in the late 80's was a wonderful, loving and selfless yirat Shamayim who I wish could train every mikve lady in the whole world.

Many women can become obsessive compulsive in their preparations and might not be satisfied enough to ever go down at all. It is not so uncommon to encounter even among women who are married for many years; the stakes are high.

For example, when can you be 100% sure that every hair that is sticking to the body has been removed, every piece of dead skin, little pieces of dirt under the fingernails, that there is not a tiny piece of food between the teeth or dental floss from trying to remove it? I have seen women cut their toenails until they bleed, scrub their skin until it is red and irritated and comb their hair obsessively in an effort to insure that no loose hairs fall out.

When preparing for the mikveh, a woman has to do what is within human reason. The Rebbetzin who taught us told us that this was the reason for the custom of dipping at least three times (the first would remove any chatzizah that the woman failed to notice) and for declaring "kosher" - so that it would be declared so and so that it would be in the woman's mind as well.

For many women this declaration is of huge psychological importance as I am sure you can well imagine. How many would go home in fear that they have neglected some aspect of cleansing and are having niddah relations? (Chas v'shalom).

Obviously there are many halachot regarding a woman's finding a chatzizah after immersing and a Rav
needs to be consulted in many cases, but there are also quite a few customs that many women observe to prevent the discovery of a chatzizah after immersion too.

Mikve preparations and Pesah preparations have a great deal of stress in common for many women. I have a feeling that some of the reason why some women do not use the mikve might be because they fear that they can never complete their preparations well enough to be "kosher". Of course mikve ladies who position themselves as the gatekeepers to Gehenom don't help the problem very much either.

Thank you, I sincerely appreciate everything that you are doing to help us with every aspect of our observance.
Reply:  The Mikva experience is supposed to be a pleasurable one. I hope we have helped change at least one person's attitude towards this great Mitzva. If yes, it was worth all the tumult.

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