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

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Ocean as mikveh

17 December, 2002

Question:

Hi – I first just wanted to thank you for providing such an important service to the community. I am going to be in a city without a mikvah during the time I need it, but there is an ocean. I saw on the website that an ocean is permitted for mikvah, and that it is preferable to use a woman over 12 to watch. However, if only my husband is available to watch, are there any precautions besides those on the website? Are there any other special considerations that I should make in general in the ocean? Thanks a lot!


Answer:

Thank you for the compliment.

If you have no choice but to use the ocean as a mikveh, you must first make sure that you are in a safe place, as safety is an important halachic consideration. The place that you select for immersion also needs to be sufficiently well-lit for the person watching you to see that all your hair went under the water. In addition, the ocean floor may not be made of a substance such as thick mud which will adhere to your feet. You should choose a time and place when you are not concerned that others will see you, as this might lead to a rushed and imperfect immersion. As with any tevilah, all preparations should be done in an unhurried manner, in a lit room where you can check yourself properly, with a mirror to see your back (as there is no mikveh lady who can help with this).

The problem with using your husband as your mikveh attendant is that prior to your immersion (even minutes prior) you are still niddah and he may not see you unclothed. If there truly is no Jewish woman available in the city you are visiting, then we would suggest you go into the water with a robe or other easily removable garment and remove it under water. Alternatively, if the water is too clear, then you can wear a loose fitting robe that allows the water to reach all parts of your body. Under these circumstances, although a woman is still preferable, your husband can observe that your hair goes under water.

 


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