Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Judaism's Best Mitzvah

Okay, it's been too, too long since I've been blogging, and I will try to get my drashot and more up soon.

Tonight I got to perform Judaism's best mitzvah.  Your not supposed to have a favourite mitzvah.  They're all equally important.  Still, I have a favourite, and my favourite mitzvah is mikveh.  Once a month, plus on a few special occasions I take time for me and God.  Another good part, God lets me focus on myself. Before I go to the mikveh I take 1-2 hours of me time.  Sometimes I take an entire evening to myself, sometimes I split the time.

Last night I took the time to give myself a reverse mani/pedi, taking off all my nail polish and taking care of my feet and hands.  Tonight I took some private time before prepping.  To got to mikveh you must first be fully clean.  It's a state of ritual and mental purity not cleanliness.  Teeth, hair, skin all must be clean.  It's nice to spend the time just taking care of me.

Then, it's off to the mikveh.  I go to the Sephardic Kehilla Centre, which is about two minutes from the house.  I'm in, a few more minutes for me, and into the mikveh.  It's bathtub warm and even when standing I feel as if I'm floating.  Dip once, bracha, dip a second time, yehi ratzon, dip a third.  I always take a extra minute in the mikveh.  I just enjoy the warmth.  I stand by the holes where the mikveh waters kiss the pool waters.  You can feel the cool water flow in from the mikveh pool.

After I recite the "Prayer Before Immersion."  Yes, I do recite it in the wrong order.  I'm a rebel.  The prayer asks for God's will in creating harmony between me and my husband, that we should appreciate each other, respect each other, and build a life and a family that will endure.  I enjoy this tekina (a traditional woman's prayer); it expresses a hope for the ideal that marriage can be, a true partnership built on love and mutual respect.  To think that this tekina with these ideals has been around for at least a century, maybe more, is inspiring to me.

Sean has a different take on mikveh.  For him it's erotic, but you'll have to ask him about that.  The Rabbis understood this.  For them mikveh wasn't about purity; it was about separation between a husband and wife creating desire and ensuring they were, at least one time a month, just like the day they were married.

I also leave the mikveh refreshed.  It doesn't matter how long the day has seemed, how hectic or frustrating, I emerge from the mikveh smiling, rejuvenated.  I attribute that to the few minutes I spend fully immersed in the water, the time I give to God.

A moment with God, a month of peace and romance.  Definitely the best mitzvah of all!

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