Source text for mikveh attendant
24 September, 2017
Would you be able to share the source text for the requirement to have a niddah immersion witnessed? It is halachically required, or it is something the woman is actually permitted to ascertain herself (that her immersion was complete and kosher), albeit with the common acknowledgment that it would be best to have a witness? Thank you.
Shulhan Arukh, Yoreh Deah 198:40 (translation): A Jewish woman older than twelve years and one day must stand over her at the time when she immerses, so that she will see that none of the hair of her head remains floating above the water's surface.
The Shulhan Arukh goes on to explain that if she does not have someone to stand over her, it is still possible to immerse, so long as she takes steps, such as using a loose hairnet, to ensure that her hair is completely submerged.
In other words, it is a halachic requirement. However, when the requirement cannot be satisfied (or after the fact), an immersion may still be valid if other steps are taken.
For a more detailed discussion, including the source in the original Hebrew, please see our blog post "Does the Mikveh Attendant Need to Watch Me Immerse?"
Please write back with any follow up questions.
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