Ocean as mikveh and husband observing immersion
17 December, 2002
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!
Thank you for your kind words.
If you have no choice but to use the ocean for immersion, you must first make sure it is safe, as safety is a critical halachic consideration. Choose a place with sufficient privacy, so that you are not concerned that others might see you, as this might lead to a rushed and improper immersion. The site 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 immersion may be invalid if the ocean floor is made of thick mud which will adhere to your feet and create a chatzitzah. As with any tevilah, all preparations should be done in an unhurried manner, in a lit room where you can check yourself properly.
The problem with your husband observing your immersion is that prior to the immersion (even minutes prior) you are still niddah, and he may not see you unclothed. If there is no Jewish woman available where you are visiting, then we suggest you go into the water with a robe or other easily removable garment and remove it under water. Alternatively, if the water is very clear and your body is easily discernable, you may immerse wearing a loose fitting long shirt or robe that allows the water to reach all parts of your body. Under these circumstances, although a woman is still preferable, your husband can be the one observing the immersion and making sure that your hair goes under the water.
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