Nishmat's Women’s Health and HalachaIn memory of Chaya Mirel bat R' Avraham

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Preparing at home

6 February, 2009

Question:

It looks like I will be away from home on mikva night. The closest mikva to where I will be is about 40 minutes away, and they request that women come fully prepared. I see from this site that if one prepares at home, one should wet oneself in the shower before immersing (hopefully they will have a shower available to do this). In general, if I prepare at home and then travel to the mikva, does the final shower that I then take at the mikva pre-immersion require shampoo and soap all over again or is it OK to simply wet oneself? What about after a 40 minute drive to the mikva when I may get sweaty on the way?

I'm nervous about this because I tend to have trouble with the preparations, and generally spend a very long time at the mikva overdoing what's actually necessary, which causes me a lot of stress. I'm working on this in order to improve my mikva experience, and want to know exactly what's required here, especially since it seems that the expectation is that one should arrive ready to immerse, and I want to feel as comfortable as I can that I am doing this properly. I really appreciate your understanding and support.


Answer:

When a woman prepares for mikveh at home, all she needs to do at the mikveh before her immersion is wet her body and hair in a shower (the mikveh will have a shower available for that purpose), comb her hair again and check her body thoroughly for any barriers. There is no need to use soap or shampoo again even if you became sweaty since warm water will rinse that off.

We highly recommend that you use a checklist when doing your preparations. You should check off everything once on the list as you do your preparations. When visually inspecting your body for barriers, you should use this list as a guide to make sure you did not forget anything. Once you complete this list, you can be sure that your preparations are sufficient.  At that point you should try your best to switch your focus from the preparations and immersion to thinking about your relationship with your husband and looking forward to spending the evening with him.

We hope that these suggestions help to ease your anxieties in your mikveh preparations.  If you find that your anxiety does not subside, or that a specific point is particularly troubling to you, please get back to us. 

B'hatzlacha!


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