Printed from ChabadDE.com

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The world's natural bodies of water- its oceans, rivers, wells, and springfed lakes - are mikvahs in their most primal form. They contain waters of divine source and thus, tradition teaches, the power to purify. Created even before the earth took shape, these bodies of water offer a quintessential route to consecration. But they pose difficulties as well. These waters may be inaccessible or dangerous, not to mention the problems of inclement weather and lack of privacy. Jewish life therefore necessitates the construction of mikvahs (Mikvah pools), and indeed this has been done by Jews in every age and circumstance.

To the uninitiated, a modern-day mikvah looks like a miniature swimming pool. In a religion rich with detail, beauty, and ornamentation - against the backdrop of the ancient temple or even modern-day synagogues the mikvah is surprisingly nondescript, a humble structure.

Its ordinary appearance, however, belies its primary place in Jewish life and law. The mikvah offers the individual, the community, and the nation of Israel the remarkable gift of purity and holiness. No other religious establishment, structure, or rite can affect the Jew in this way and, indeed, on such an essential level. Its extraordinary power, however, is contingent on its construction in accordance with the numerous and complex specifications as outlined in Halachah, Jewish Law.

Rivkah Slonim 

 

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