3,000 Year Old Mitzvah Goes Hi-Tech

June 1, 2009


In an era when traditional marriage is under attack and family structures are crumbling, many couples are looking for a way to bring meaning into their lives. Currently, 41 percent of first marriages in the United States experience divorce. Countless magazines on supermarket shelves offer tips for married couples ranging from financial advice and managing the budget to how to improve and rejuvenate the intimate relationship between husband and wife.


Recognized for centuries as a people that treasures and protects the family unit, Judaism has also struggled in the last century to maintain its prized family values. One secret element that scholars have attributed to the strength of the Jewish family is the practice of the laws of Taharat Hamishpacha and Mikvah, the ritual bath.  A Mikvah's primary use includes immersion following menstruation for Jewish married women. Other vital occasions for immersion in the Mikvah include conversion, and men’s immersions daily before prayer, weekly before Sabbath or before sacred holidays such as Yom Kippur.


According to Jewish law, a community is required to build a Mikvah before it constructs a synagogue, for without access to a Mikvah, the very foundation of the Jewish family is threatened. There was an elderly couple who moved to Israel from Russia, childless. They were kind to each other and very quiet. One day they were overheard discussing the fact that they never had children and the wife mentioned that there had been no Mikvah in their small, Russian town. The mitzvah of Mikvah was so dear to them that they let go of their own dreams and wishes in deference to fulfilling the wishes of G-d.


In the discovery of the ruins of Masada – the last holdout against the Romans in the year 74 CE – archeologists uncovered the structures of mikvaos, built long ago in this place of desperation. Jewish continuity and the promise of a Jewish future remained strong even in a fortress under siege.

Today, many women find the practice of Mikvah to be a rejuvenating, relaxing experience amid the storm of their busy lives. Mikvah observance provides the opportunity for today’s busy woman to know herself and tend to her person with great detail and attention. The preceding separation and abstention from their physical relationship brings newness to the marriage each month. Many modern mikvaos are outfitted like spas featuring state of the art Jacuzzi baths, soft Egyptian cotton towels, and soothing music.


One organization that provides inspiration for the couple interested in keeping the laws of Taharat Hamishpacha and Mikvah is www.mikvah.org. This web site offers a wide range of articles, essays and books on the inspiration and spirituality many women experience in their Mikvah observance. In one article, a young, newly married woman writes, that when she is done immersing in the Mikvah she is “truly at peace, surrounded by the tranquil beauty of the Mikvah, ready for this month’s honeymoon.”


While many modern Jewish women are discovering and reviving this ancient practice that has contributed to Jewish continuity, there is a more technical aspect of the observance that has been overlooked, even among the pious.  This is the Taharat Hamishpacha calendar. A Taharat Hamishpacha calendar tracks the dates the couple should separate in anticipation of menstruation and calculates when the wife will immerse in the mikvah. The times of separation often create a newlywed type of anticipation for intimacy. Many couples, however, find it difficult or confusing to calculate the dates so important to Mikvah observance. Many do not understand and appreciate the vast spiritual benefits and blessing all aspects of Taharat Hamishpacha practice bring to the family for generations to come.


Well keeping that calendar has just become easier! Just as Mikvah has experienced a revival in the last decade, the calendar, too, is getting a technological facelift. Couples can now visit www.mymikvahcalendar.com to enter their dates and let the program calculate the dates of separation and immersion. Learn while they do with the full explanations and clarifications every step of the way.


To keep up with the techno-savvy couples of today, My Mikvah Calendar will email or SMS reminders about the Mikvah night, as well as the days or nights of anticipation.


MyMikvahCalendar’s  beautiful user interface will inspire couples so that this often overlooked or avoided aspect of this special mitzvah can be just as meaningful and user-friendly as using the Mikvah itself. No longer does it need to be pushed aside because of complexity. Using Mikvah.org’s MyMikvahCalendar enables Jewish couples to experience the joyous reunion that has kept Jewish marriages strong for thousands of years.


For more information, visit www.mymikvahcalendar.com  or contact www.mikvah.org  at 718-756-5700.