Why must immersion be at night?
10 May, 2014
I have been trying to find an answer to this, but haven't found anything significant – why does one have to go to the mikvah after nightfall?
As a working mother, it would be SO much simpler for me to go to the mikvah at the start of the day, on my way to work for example, as I often find myself missing my date by several days or even not being able to make it for a whole month because my son got sick, etc. and it makes no sense to me in cases like this why I should have to wait for such a long time until it is convenient to go to the mikvah again *at nighttime*, when I might have been able to easily go the next morning and then resumed relations with my husband (unfortunately, it is hard for me not to resent this aspect of the ritual, as I feel like it really prevents me from connecting to it as a positive thing).
Appreciate your time in considering my question.
Tevilah may take place only after the seven clean days have been completely finished, so a woman may not immerse before nightfall on the seventh day.
The prohibition on daytime immersion on the eighth day or later is a rabbinic decree, lest a woman's daughter see her going during the eighth day and incorrectly conclude that daytime immersion is permitted on the seventh day. This decree applies to all women whether or not they have daughters. In extenuating circumstances (such as when the mikvah is in an unsafe neighborhood and going after nightfall is dangerous, or if there is a blizzard and it is dangerous to drive at night, etc.) there is room to permit daytime immersion on the eighth day or later.
However, convenience is not considered a valid reason to override this rabbinic decree. Many mitzvot involve some level of inconvenience or even difficulty. We empathize with the difficulties you have as a working mother in finding time to do your preparations and immerse at night. You should make this mitzvah a priority, and try to work on the logistics to minimize the inconvenience. You can do the bulk of your preparations early in the morning before you go to work. Once you get home from work, you just need to shower, comb your hair, check your body for any chatzitzot, and immerse after nightfall. This whole process can be as quick as 20 minutes. If your husband is not around to help with the kids while you go to the mikvah, since you know a week in advance when you will immerse, you should use that time to schedule a babysitter. Alternatively, you can call the mikvah lady to see if you can schedule a late night appointment once your husband gets home.
We hope you are able to work out the logistics to immerse in a timely manner. We understand the resentment you feel towards mikvah since you are delaying immersion for days or even weeks. Please try to refocus and prioritize this mitzvah. Even if you find mikvah night stressful (and you are not alone in this regard), it is better to deal with it head on, right away, and not delay it, which causes even more frustration and resentment.
Please don't hesitate to be in touch for more suggestions or with any further questions.
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.