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

  • Hebrew
  • English
  • Espnaol
  • Francais
  • donate

Immersion in a natural spring

4 December, 2002


I am living where my best mikveh option is a natural spring. I am, however, unfamiliar with the halachot of immersing in a natural body of water. Additionally, there are occasionally late night swimmers. For modesty, my husband and I discussed the possibility of me wearing loose clothing into the water, undressing where the water is up to my neck, immersing, redressing before emerging from neck-high water. This would ensure modesty if anyone were to approach from a distance (my husband would act as a look-out) but not if they were nearby, as the water is clear. I have gotten the impression that in such circumstances a loose-fitting dress in the water might not impede the kashrut of the immersion. Is this true? What is my best course of action?


There are a number of requirements for the use of a natural spring as a mikveh. First of all, the spring itself has to meet the requirements for immersion. The water must originate from the spring and not from a collection of rainwater, and it must be deep enough so that you can immerse your entire body at one time. The spring you describe, which reaches your neck, is certainly deep enough.

You must be certain that the area in which you immerse is safe. Moreover, it should be private and clean enough that you will not rush your immersion.

There is also the issue of modesty. If it can be done modestly, removing the dress underwater is better than leaving on a loose-fitting dress. However, a loose-fitting dress would not impede the kashrut of the immersion if you can assure that the water has touched all parts of your body.

In addition, someone needs to witness the immersion to check that all all your hair is under the water. (This requires sufficient lighting.) The witness should be another Jewish woman over age 12. Only where there is no Jewish woman who can do the job may your husband serve as the witness. In that case, his job is not just to act as look-out, but also to confirm that you completely dunk. Prior to immersion, however, you are still a niddah and he should not see you unclothed. Thus, even if there are no other swimmers that night, you should follow the procedure you described with the dress.



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

Accessibility Toolbar