Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mikvah Gone Bingo

I'd really wanted to make this a vlog, but as the fates would have it, my beloved camera is in the shop somewhere in Virginia. Yes, I know, I could record this on my computer, but for some reason the quality just isn't where I want it, so I'd rather write it all down. The topic?

Why, mikvah -- aka the ritual bath that Jewish women visit once a month after their niddah period -- of course! The mikvah is sort of like a spa these days, with many of them being done up in marble or faux Jerusalem stone. You get a robe, some nice towels, makeup remover, nail polish remover, and everything else you need to beautify yourself before dipping thrice in a well-heated pool of all-natural water under the watchful eye of the mikvah lady. I've written about it before -- give it a read.

I thought I'd make some observations/questions that are, for the most part, unconnected, but relevant.

Mikvahs should be more like Bingo Parlors than they are. You know what I mean, right? Okay, so at Bingo Parlors enthusiasts bring all their little toys and lucky items with them. When I walk into the mikvah prep room where the tub and sink and toilet and all the fixins to beauty are, I feel like I should have a little altar set up with all of the things that I need/want to feel at home at the mikvah. It made me wonder: Are there women who bring in a bottle of wine and some candles and set them up for a relaxing prep experience? Because, to be completely honest, I'm considering it.

People should leave their cellphones at home, in the car, or at least in the "silent" position while in the mikvah prep room. I mean, as much as I like hearing your creative ringtone while I'm trying to center myself for the big dip, I'm really not so interested in the interruption.

Question: Can I hit the "Ready" button before zman? Explanation: So the mikvah opens about 30 minutes or so before you actually can dip, so people show up early, get ready, so that the moment it's kosher to dip you can do it and get out of there. I realized the last time I was at the mikvah that I was the last person to go in, despite hitting the button at zman time. Should I hit it whenever I'm ready to dip, even if it's loads of time pre-zman?

I've realized that going as early as possible and taking my time with a bath is more rewarding personally than going in for a quick shower and zooming my way back home. Why? Well, how often do you get to take a nice bath in a nice, clean facility at your own pace? This plays back to my first comment. Picture it: bath, wine, candles ... oh wait, you can't dim the lights. Scratch that.

I wonder what old-world mikva'ot looked like. I'm talking shtetl-style digs. Clearly they're not like the ancient mikva'ot we uncover, but they're nothing like what we have now. I'd love to see a mikvah circa 1700 in the middle of nowhere Eastern Europe.

How do I convince my husband to do all sorts of fun prep and stuff like I must on mikvah night? Bribery? Food?

And, lastly, would it be wrong for me to bring some goods to tovel into the mikvah when I go in for the big dip? I mean, I don't think I'd really ever do it, but ... I'm intrigued at the thought.

Have questions about the mikvah? Funny experiences? Hit me up!