Mikva Education for every Yid! Why and How?
By Imanuel Ravad
The Jewish People in our Holy- Land, today the only country in the world that life is threatened by nuclear annihilation. Most of the country’s Yidden are not Torah observant. Most of the Diaspora communities disintegrate for lack of proper Torah education, hence the subject of Mikva is far from their mind, they intermarry and assimilate into their country's culture and live in the shadow of Arab terror. We cannot deny the connection between the problems. Our problem is not the Arabs! Since Ishmael did repent from his plan to murder his brother Yitzchak, and for thousands of years Yidden did live in Arab countries. Our daily morning prayers starts with the quote: "Rabi Yishmael says!" The Arabs today serve only as a whip with which G-d signals us to repent.
Mikva immersion is a most efficient and easy way to lead to repentance. Mikva immersion has numerous levels. While the theme of Purity that leads to Sanctity contain many levels that are beyond our perceptions, the subject of repentance is easier to perceive and understand since every person asks many times daily forgiveness from his friends. Adam was the first man that did mikva immersion, in the Shiloach spring-mikva, on the first Sunday of his life outside of Gan-Eden, in order to beseech forgiveness and atonement for his sin. (Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer 14-20). "Immersion for the sake of repentance!" (Magen Avraham). "Repentance requires immersion!" (Or Zaru’a). Yerushalayim was saved from destruction by Sancheriv, in merit that all our people, "boys and girls, men and women, "did learn therefore they did also observe the mitzvah of mikva, each in his own domain, (Sanhedrin 94). Therefore "Mikva education for every Yid!" is most important to each one of our people.
With consultation and consent of Gedolay Hador: It is difficult for one person from there to well educate all the people here, certainly not all around the world! Education requires many local educators, activists and substantial funds. Most observant Yidden prefer to donate their charity funds to matters of mercy, Torah education, construction and renovation of Mikvas, etc. About Mikva education either they did not hear or they do not believe it is meaningful to mikva educate people who are not yet Shabbat observers. Although it is easier through Mikva to become Torah observer then the opposite. While secular Yids do not donate to Mikva education, because it negates their life style. Although mikva education is a primary issue, since Mikvah precedes the construction of a synagogue and buying of a Torah scroll, mikva education is the basis for observing the Mitzvos.
Therefore, Ain-Braira, we have choice: aside from the duty of every Yid to support spreading of purity, all Mikva managements must, besides preparing a kosher Mikva for ritual purity immersion, also serve as a center for Mikva education for every Yid. Every Jewish mailbox, especially in the vicinity of the mikva, should occasionally receive educational material about the mikva, especially for those who do not yet observe the Mitzvah.
Just as every commodity that we buy, between 10-30% of its cost went for its promotion, likewise, at least 10% of the payment for Mikva-immersion should be for Mikva Education and promotion expenses, especially for the residents Yidden of the city who needs this education or for Klal Yisrael. Instead that mikva-immersing payment today includes only the operating cost of the mikva and the price of the towel and soap.
The role and obligation of city rabbis does not end on the inner-side of the mikva door, for their concern for the existence and operation of a kosher mikva, but especially for their serious efforts to educate our people to observe the Mitzva, at least of all the residents Yidden of their city and its surroundings. Because nowadays, even if there is no a mikva here, there is a mikva there, or the possibility of purity immersion in a spring, etc., and the need to travel for purity immersion is not an obstacle. Most of the world's people travel daily to work, to a grocery store, and even to non-essential tasks. When there will be a serious budget for Mikva education, the necessary educators and activist for Mikva Education to every Yid will be found.
A city or a community rabbi who was not able to achieve a 100% purity immersion from the women who are required to observe it by Torah law, must educate and encourage to immerse also all the men, although, until our Temple will be rebuilt, soon in our days, men do not have Torah obligation of purity immersion. Since where men immerse we do not find women who do not fulfil their obligation. Therefore, although nowadays men have no Torah obligation for purity immersion, but they are duty-bound to do so, since the immersion of the men does encourage the purity immersion of the women who are under the obligation to observe this Mitzvah. However, although men are nowadays under no obligation to purity immerse, they reap great benefit from it, as followed.
During my activity in Mikva education, all the women that asked me, they repeated the same one question: "Why Us?" They were not prepared to hear my answer until I declared that I had already purity immersed this morning. The Talmud too proves this concept of men first. Since the opening sentence of the Talmud includes [in an indirect way] purity immersion of men, whereas the Torah purity immersion obligation of women is in the very last tractate of the Talmud and the message is strong and clear. [The opening sentence of the Talmud: "From when we may recite the evening "Shema’?" Instead of a direct answer: "From sunset!" An indirect answer is inserted: "From the time that Kohanim, (men), that although they had purity immersed for their impurities, during the day they are permitted to eat their "Terumoh" only after sunset, as is written in the Torah. However, why the topic of the Kohanim must appear here? It seems that our sages understood that the subject of purity Mikva immersion must appear at the very beginning of the oral law, like it appears at the very beginning of the Torah, in order to stress its importance to Jewish life. However, men in the first sentence and women in the very last tractate. Also: There is no obligation to become rich, strong and beautiful; however most of the people aspire to it. Purity Mikva immersion is a kind of a private meeting in a total isolation with the Creator. There we communicate in our hearts with the Creator, we lay down our daily problems, and ask ... and we understand that we must precede and fulfil Hashem's demands from us, in order that Hashem will fulfil our requests. We emerge from the Mikva with hope and joy for a new and promising page for our lives. Therefore, after purity mikva immersion, every man thinks, prays and lives differently. Community life takes on a more serious nature, Family Purity Laws are strictly observed, and intermarriage ceases to be an option.
Men's purity immersion is not a sensitive issue, and it is easy to bring to purity mikva immersion even a man who considers himself as an achieved secular Jew [until the mikva immersion]. See the article: "If you have no problems, it is not for you!" from my book: "To Stand Alone With G-d!"
Due to the sensitivity of the topic to women, they object to immerse in a mikva that was previously used by men even on a completely different time schedule. Therefore, every community should build a separate men's mikva, even if with a lower standard of beauty, however preferably in the basement or courtyard of the synagogue, to enable to emerge directly from the purity immersion, into the heat of prayers, without having to pass through the distracting street sights from pure thoughts.
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Imanuel Ravad, 20 Shma'ya St., Bnei Brak 5132703, 10 Nissan 5777 – (7.4.017).