I wanted to write about this topic for a long time. Mikvah is something that we can all relate to as a Jewish women and it is a topic that is often discussed between us. There was a recent thread on the forum, “Is your wedding night really that hard?“, that got me thinking and I decided to scratch my other notes on Mikvah and write this one. An anonymous poster wrote that the “wedding night is supposed to be the best night of your life”. It does not matter in what context it was written in, although I am sure you all know (or you can go read). But that sentence really got me thinking.
Every observant Jewish woman knows about Niddah. She knows that there will be times as a wife that she will not be able to be affectionate toward her husband. She will not be able to kiss him, hug him, or even pass him a plate of food. Forget about being intimate. Sometimes it will last two weeks, other times, three, and at times, like post partum, about six to ten weeks. It is hard. No one would deny that. You love the person you are living with, yet you cannot physically express it.
After the bleeding, there is a process. There is the checking, the 7 clean days, the preparing for the Mikvah and finally, the dipping. Mikvah. You prepare for 7 days for 3 (or in some cases 1, 2 or 9) dips in holy water. There are many reasons why the water is holy and special, but the main reason being, is that it makes you Tahor, spiritually pure. This water that covers your body from head to toe, renders you Halachically permissible for your husband.
There is that feeling of euphoria as you walk out of the Mikvah. Bag in hand, spotlessly clean, fresh makeup, and in some cases, wet hair. You have to talk to your feet to walk and not run as you make your way home so that you do not get hurt on the way. And whether or not you actually get to see your husband right away or two hours later, you run into each other’s arms and that feeling is exhilarating. No one can deny it. However tired, moody or stressed you are, your husband’s arm around your waist melts everything around you and all you want is him. Suddenly, you can have each other again, romantically. You can pass him a cup of water after two weeks of not being allowed to. Suddenly, the most mundane little action seems like the only thing you want to do. Kissing and hugging and finally, being intimate.
So is that not really the best night of your life?
Of course your life is so long Baruch Hashem, and you have many many best nights. Your wedding is a fabulous, fun night. The night your child is born, the night you go on an amazing date to the Eiffel Towers, the night your child comes home from school with top grades…and Mikvah night.
I am sure many of you will agree that the more you get to know your husband, the more you live with him and spend time with him, there is more to love and more to cherish. No one can disagree that however long you dated, however long you spoke and touched and kissed when you were engaged, the longer you are married, the more real your love gets for him.
A psychologist by the name of Elaine Hatfield said there are two kinds of love – passionate and compassionate. Passionate is that burning crazy fiery feeling of lust, longing, attraction and desire. Eventually that leads to compassionate love. The kind where you have a mutual feeling of respect and understanding for each other, inner and deep feelings of wanting to protect and care for one another.
The longer you are married, the longer you are together, the more compassionate you will get, the more real your love is…a deep down carved-on-your-heart feeling of love. And who can say that making love to your husband, compassionate, honest, attracting real caring love, after two weeks of being apart, is not going to be the best night of your life?
As Jewish women, we get that every month, assuming you have an average cycle. Look at the rate of divorce and separation in the secular world, and their excuses “we got bored”, “he forgot about me”, “she found someone else”. We (usually) cannot say that. Of course there is divorce, but these are hardly ever the reasons. We cannot get bored. G-d made sure of that. He made sure that once a month, a Jewish man and woman will have their real wedding night all over again.
So yes, I guess I am saying that the wedding night is the best night of your life, but not the one where you are all dressed up in a white gown. It’s the one where you count down the days, go to the Mikvah, and then come home to your husband – to hold and to love.
Authors note: there may be women whom this article is not applicable to for various reasons. Please do not take this blogpost personally if it doesn’t apply to you. Thank you!
Photo by Rivka Bauman Photography