Mikvah Immersion

You are here:
< Back

Dear Rabbi Simon,

My wife Sarah is both a full time mother and facing medical challenges at the moment. This leaves her very tired and emotionally drained by the end of the day. She also has a phobia of going under water. Consequently, she finds the monthly mikva trip very difficult, and this month impossible to carry out (following numerous medical procedures). I find that this puts a strain on the marriage, which I know is the exact opposite to what this mitzvah is all about. After the seven clean day count, is full immersion always obligatory or can it be relaxed in some way for this type of situation? I look forward to hearing from you soon,


Unknown Object

Dear Avi,

I am sorry to hear of the complicated situation you describe. The difficulty Sarah experiences with immersion in water is unfortunate; I wonder if some form of counseling or therapy could help. The reason I put forward this suggestion (which I recognize has doubtless occurred to you already) is that a woman cannot become tehora following her monthly period without complete immersion in the mikveh. Anything less leaves her in a state in which she is unable to resume normal physical relations within the context of marriage.

Therefore, I would say that immersion per se is not obligatory after the seven clean days (although it is a mitzvah, and is doubtless to be encouraged). However, normal marital relationships cannot be carried out in any way without it.

I hope that Sarah’s health improves and that the situation you describe finds a favorable resolution soon.

There are also a number of mikveh attendants who are trained to help women who have an aversion to immersion. I can give you details if you like.

Rabbi Simon

Questions & Answers
this week

Questions and Answers

Ask the Rabbi: Easy as א-ב-ג?
Dear Rabbi Simon,
I hope you fasted well yesterday.
Thank you for the insights into the Kinnot, making them easier to understand.
In the afternoon, I was listening to a shiur on Eichah on Torahanytime.  As an aside, the speaker mentioned that the 1st perek of Eichah is the source for the order of the alef bet as we know it.  Other chapters also follow the alef bet chronology but with ayin en peh interchanged.
He quoted Rabbi Shimon Schwab as his source.
Although he did not elaborate on this, surely Sefer Tehillim predates Megillat Eichah by centuries.  Several psalms are written in the alef bet order (e.g.
psalm 119).
Can you please clarify?
Thank you & best wishes.
PhilippeHi Philippe
TY for your sophisticated Q.
I have also heard that the question of the sequence of samekh and 'ayin is subject to dispute. It seems that there are indications that in Paleo-Hebrew the order is reversed from what we know. It is alleged that chapters 2, 3 and 4 of Eichah (chapter 5 is not alphabetical) reflect the original order. Of course, as you say, ch 1 conforms to the order with which we are family.
You are right that Tehillim predates Eichah, however a critic can claim that the order was redacted to bring it in line with the accepted/preferred sequence. This is particularly true for ch. 119, where each of the 8 vv per letter are their own group, and each set of 8 vv. can easily be repositioned. The question is in Ps. 34 or 145, if the internal logic of the passage sheds light on the correct sequence. In Ps. 34, some claim that the v. starting with the letter peh makes more sense to follow the verse starting with samekh (due to the common appearance of the word ra'). I am not convinced that this argument is compelling.
I will stick with the mesorah, that 'ayin belongs before peh. Best to look before speaking.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
Events / Calendar