Finding Comfort & Strength at the Mikvah
A post-menopause mikvah experience by Addie Blumberg
“So,” my beautiful Rebbetzin asked me one day, “Addie, how would you like to do one special mitzvah for yourself and for your family?”
“Well,” I replied, “I’ve never had the privilege and the opportunity to experience the mikvah in all my years of marriage”.
Even though I was raised in a traditional Jewish home, mikvah was not part of our life, nor my premarital teaching. I was so touched as I did not realise that I could have this opportunity, since I went into early menopause when I was very young. This was very special to me, something that my being needed to learn and explore.
So my teaching of Taharat Hamishpacha started. This opportunity gave me a time to reflect and learn more in depth about the mitzvah of mikvah. I realised only now how important it is to the Jewish family, the mother and wife to observe the laws of mikvah. It can spiritually enhance your life, as well as bring blessing to yourself and your loved ones. I learnt immersing one time, post menopause, would bring sanctity to the remaining years of one’s married life. I wanted to follow the mikvah laws precisely and discussed this with my husband. He graciously and lovingly went along with me on the various regulations leading up to my mikvah immersion.
I decided I also needed to use the mikvah as a spiritual tool for a positive response. The intensity of my mourning period due to the loss of my mother was so strong and overwhelming that I needed an equally strong ritual to allow me to accept and come to terms with this pain. Mikvah is not a quick-fix, but for me it was part of a healing process expressed in tangible ritual. More a symbolism than anything else. I was entering a new life-changing situation.
Also, I was most grateful for the brocha of my beautiful younger daughter who was getting married in two weeks time. With so many life-changing situations, I prepared with gratitude and spiritual strength. The use of the mikvah requires traditional preparations, which I followed, thoroughly cleansing and preparing my body and mind. I filled my thoughts and mind with gratitude and davened my tehillim in earnestly.
Upon arrival at the mikvah , I was met by the kindest, sweetest attendant in the world who immediately set me at ease and took me to the most beautifully appointed preparation room. The atmosphere was soothing and welcoming. I took my time in silent prayer and thought, again showering and preparing for my immersion in the holy water. Finally the attendant called me into the beautiful, peaceful mikvah. The holiness in this room was palpable. As I entered the holy water I took a moment for silent prayer, focusing on feelings of trust, purity and goodness. After immersing I made my own affirmation silently to Hashem. With tears of joy and such connection with all the mothers and woman of Israel, I slowly left the room in awe and filled with such humility and appreciation for this mitzvah , and for all my blessings in my life.
After this unbelievable gift of the single immersion in my life, I have learnt that it is customary for woman post menopause to immerse once a year on the morning of the eve of the holiest day of the year Yom Kippur. At this time you can refresh yourself spiritually, revitalise your soul and your being for the coming New Year, and spend time in meaningful prayer for a blessed, healthy New Year for your family and yourself.
I am so grateful I was encouraged to fulfil this mitzvah and look so forward to my annual immersion – my privilege as a Jewish woman.