Back in that monastery, achieving higher consciousness, they’re pretty celibate. But we’re into discovering higher consciousness in everything—and there’s no place of greater spiritual energy and beauty than in the union of a man and a woman. After all, what could be more spiritually nurturing than the source of life? However, some conditions do apply. Here are the basic elements:

  1. A marriage. Actually, the Hebrew word for this is kiddushin, which means sanctified. A Jewish marriage is a statement that this union is for a higher purpose.
  2. A mikvah. That’s a pool designed around a natural flow of water, such as a spring or rain water. Today’s mikvahs are heated and outfitted with every convenience.
  3. Separation. From the time of menstruation until immersion, marital relations are off-bounds. Certain other precautions are taken as well, to create a sort of “buffer zone.”
  4. Seven days. That’s how long a woman counts after menstruation before immersing in a mikvah.
  5. Preparations. Before immersing in the mikvah, a woman must wash thoroughly so that nothing separates between the woman’s body and the water.

As we exist in G‑d’s mind, male and female is a single whole. So none of us can achieve wholeness until we regain that original oneness in both body and soul. That is why the union of man and woman is so powerful. If treated callously and selfishly it becomes destructive and ugly. But within the right boundaries and conditions, there is nothing more beautiful and uplifting.
—the Kabbalah

The idea of the mikvah is so natural, so ingenious. Women—and men, too—need this cycle. What an amazing way to keep a marital union fresh and well-oiled!
—John Gray, author of Woman Are From Venus, Men Are From Mars