Ocean as mikveh
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 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.
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.