Immersion for teshuvah
9 March, 2010
I found the following statement among your responsa: "A woman is permitted to immerse on Erev Yom Kippur or Erev Rosh HaShanah even if she is in niddah" Could you, please, provide me with some quotations and if possible links to its original halakhic sources?
Thank you very much.
The practice for women to immerse in a mikveh as a sign of teshuvah (repentence) is cited in gloss 8 of the Magen Avraham on the Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 606. He explains that there are those who say that the immersion prior to Yom Kippur mentioned in the Shulchan Aruch is referring to an immersion for teshuvah that was customary even for boys and girls over the age of 13 or 12. As it is not an immersion to become ritually pure, even if the girl was a niddah she could immerse.
While this is permissible, some later authorities banned the practice for fear that women may be confused by the immersion and think they are no longer in niddah and transgress the prohibition against relations during niddah.
For a comprehensive review of the topic, you can also see Responsa on Contemporary Jewish Women's Issues (KTAV) chapter 10, written by Rabbi Yehuda Henkin, the Rabbinic supervisor for this site.
This internet service does not preclude, override or replace the psak of any rabbinical authority. It is the responsibility of the questioner to inform us of any previous consultation or ruling. As even slight variation in circumstances may have Halachic consequences, views expressed concerning one case may not be applied to other, seemingly similar cases. All health and health-related information contained within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for consulting with your health care professional. The advice is intended to offer a basis for individuals to discuss their medical condition with their health care provider but not individual advice. Although every effort is made to ensure that the material within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is accurate and timely, it is provided for the convenience of the Web site user but should not be considered official. Advice for actual medical practice should be obtained from a licensed health care professional.
For further questions or comments:
The Nishmat Women's Health and Halacha Site is a public service of Nishmat, The Jeanie Schottenstein Center for Advanced Torah Study for Women. This project and others like it are made possible by contributions from people like you. If you have benefited from the service, and wish to enable us to help others, click here to donate.
Users of Internet filtering services: This site discusses sensitive subjects that some services filter without visual indication. A page that appears 100% complete might actually be missing critical Jewish-law or medical information. To ensure that you view the pages accurately, ask the filtering service to whitelist all pages under yoatzot.org.