A Mikvah is a ritual bath for purification in accordance with Jewish law. The water of the mikvah must be pure, natural, flowing water, rainwater is gathered to be used in the mikvah.
Traditionally, the mikvah is used by both men and women. Going to the Mikvah is a mitzvah. Jewish women usually go to the Mikvah before getting married, finishing the menstruation cycle, or even in the 9th month of pregnancy. Mikvah immersion is generally required for people who convert to Judaism too. Many orthodox Jewish men go to the mikvah to immerse and prepare spiritually for Shabbat, and Yom Kippur. Some men immerse daily prior to morning prayers. Unlike men, women are supervised using a mikvah by a female attendant.
During a woman’s monthly cycle, the woman and her husband must physically separate. This period of time is known as Niddah. A woman immerses in the mikvah after her menstrual cycle in order to honor the potential life that has passed that month.
The mikvah is a clean, warm pool of water and is pleasant and private. In recent times, mikvah's have become a beautiful and enjoyable experience. Before entering the mikvah it is customary to clean our bodies thoroughly. You can either do this at home or at the Mikvah in the room provided for you. The rooms look like hotel rooms intended just for you. Most mikvahs provide towels, robes, jewelry holders, slippers, body soaps, and shampoos.
There are different types of preparation processes for women depending on what she is going to the mikvah for. The immersion is done completely naked and a blessing is said. Many add personal prayers, asking Hashem for health, success, to have children, peace, or anything you wish to pray for.
When you go inside the mikvah it is a beautiful moment of physical and emotional cleansing during which time you can feel truly and completely pure. My own personal experience of going to the mikvah has always been positive. I found the mikvah to be a necessity in my life as a Jewish woman. Whenever I went to the mikvah, right before I immersed myself, I prayed with all my heart. I felt spiritually my soul was elevated. When I close my eyes and go under the water, it’s silent. It’s the one place I feel safe.
Immersing in the mikvah is a physical way of expressing our prayers. Our body is holy. The mikvah is a place to experience the holiness of this journey.