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Three Generations Share the Mitzvah of Mikvah

Three Generations Share the Mitzvah of Mikvah

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It was only a short time now until my wedding and, as is customary for a bride, I was preparing to go to the mikvah for the very first time. The first time a bride goes to the mikvah is, of course, special, but what was even more special about it was that it was an I was preparing to go to the mikvah for the very first timeexperience that would be shared by three generations of women.

One year ago, my grandmother, my mother and I traveled to Israel for a family friend’s wedding. During that time, we all took a trip to a mikvah to celebrate a henna party with the bride before her wedding. To my surprise, I learned that my British grandmother had never gone to a mikvah before her own wedding, nor had she even seen one before! I quickly asked the mikvah attendant if she could give us a tour, and she was more than happy to show us around.

As we visited, my grandmother became more and more fascinated by this beautiful and ancient custom, and she asked many questions about when, where and how the mikvah is used. The attendant informed us that, in fact, the mitzvah of mikvah can be performed once by older women who had not had the opportunity when they were younger.

I was not yet engaged, nor was I even dating, but without hesitation I looked over to my grandmother and asked: “Grandma, when I get married, will you join me in the mitzvah of mikvah?” And to my surprise, she didn’t hesitate to answer, “Yes.” As we traveled back to the States, I kept her promise with me in the back of my mind.

It was only four months later that I met my husband-to-be, and soon we were planning for the wedding, thank G‑d. The mitzvah of mikvah was quickly becoming a reality, and I realized just how special this day was going to be. As I spoke with my mother about the many wedding plans, I realized that my mother had not been to a mikvah since her own wedding in Israel more than 25 years earlier. So, I took another leap: “Mom, will you come to the mikvah with us?”

“Of course,” my mother said. “I plan to be there with you.”

“No, Mom,” I said, “not just to be there; to join in the mitzvah of mikvah with us.”

There was a slight pause over the phone, and then again an unwavering, “Okay, yes, I will do it.” I couldn’t believe it: me, my mother and my grandmother all sharing the mitzvah of mikvah together!

As I learned more about mikvah, I realized that there was a bit more needed in the way of preparation than I had been aware of. Aside from the actual plunge into the waters, there were several steps to take in the week beforehand which were necessary in order to complete the mitzvah. I wondered how I would be able to approach this with my grandmother and mother so that they would still agree to continue. I decided to speak with the rebbetzin from my hometown, and she graciously agreed to meet with us all and guide us through the steps needed to prepare for that day. Again, there was another revealed blessing, and my grandmother and mother were on board without flinching.

As the week before my wedding approached and three generations of women prepared to use the mikvah, I called a local mikvah to reserve three separate rooms. “Yes, three,” I repeated into the phone.

Wow! It was really happening. The big day came, and I met my grandmother and mother, and together we walked up the steps to the mikvah. The attendant was amazingly helpful as she showed us where to go and what to do next. Then, it was finally time to go in. First, the attendant escorted my I smiled one of the biggest smiles of my life thus fargrandmother; then it was my mother’s turn. As I waited in my own room, tears streamed down my face as I smiled one of the biggest smiles of my life. I was just beginning to understand how powerful the mitzvah of mikvah truly is, and I realized I was seeing revealed miracles. I was so overwhelmed to be a part of it.

Each of us emerged from the waters moved by the holiness that we had just experienced. Together, we reflected on the incredible moments in the mikvah, and the inner calmness and serenity that came over us as we prayed and connected with the One above.

It was such a special day—one I will never forget—and I thank G‑d over and over for allowing me to have that experience, and to share such an integral mitzvah with the generations of women in my family.

After this experience, I was more than ready to enter my marriage and start a family with my husband-to-be, with the everlasting mitzvah of mikvah as our foundation.

Renée is an alumna of The Ivy League Torah Study Experience in New York and The Mayanot Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. She now lives in Crown Heights with her husband and their beautiful new baby.
Sefira Ross is a freelance designer and illustrator whose original creations grace many Chabad.org pages. Residing in Seattle, Washington, her days are spent between multitasking illustrations and being a mom.
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Anonymous Maine July 27, 2016

When I was getting remarried in my late 40's, I took my daughter who was still unmarried, and my mother to the mikvah with me. They witnessed my mikvah experience, but my mother, who had never immersed herself, was not willing to "try it". It was very special to me to have my 3 generations present; but I'm not sure my experience had much impact on my mother and daughter as they never wanted to discuss it again -- it was just my "religious thing". Your story brought tears to my eyes realizing what a powerful and beautiful experience your family had together. May you all have a wonderful life filled with blessings. Reply

s UK July 26, 2016

Beautiful Thank you, for sharing this wonderful experience Reply

Jocelyn Ruth Krieger Boca Raton, Fl. July 26, 2016

Miracle Mitzvah Beautiful story. I must add the importance of funding mikvah maintenance. Many mikvot have a special bride's room furnished with luxurious preparation materials and lotions that may be used after immersion. I used to donate my samples that came with purchases I had made. Reply

Pinchas Chaim Johannesburg July 26, 2016

Incredible Even as a non-FFB, and a man I can appreciate this amazing event in your life. WOW. Reply

Anonymous Brooklyn July 24, 2016

Amazing! So inspiring, a gentle way to spread light. Chilling and tears. This is beautiful Reply

Anonymous BK July 24, 2016

Beautiful Beautiful story. Truly moving! Thank you so much for sharing. Reply

Anonymous via m.chabadect.com July 24, 2016

Beautiful!! Your story is so touching! A young bride brings her mother and grandmother into the mitzvah of mikvah, what a special, pure, holy time! Reply

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