Traditionally, the rhythm of sexual relations in a marriage was determined by the Jewish laws of purity and impurity (taharah and tumah). A woman abstained from sexual relations with her husband during her menstrual period (niddah) and for a fixed time (usually a week) thereafter. At the conclusion of this period, she immersed herself in a The ritual bath. The waters of the mikveh symbolically purify – they are seen as waters of rebirth. A convert immerses in the mikveh as part of conversion. Many Orthodox married women go to the mikveh following their period and before resuming sexual relations. Couples go to the mikveh before being married. Many, including some men, immerse before Yom Kippur; some go every Friday before Shabbat., a ritual bath, and resumed sexual relations with her husband. In the 1970s, as Jewish feminists began to grapple with Jewish tradition, mikveh seemed to be among the least redeemable of traditional rituals. Surprisingly, this has proved not to be the case. Some modern women have found ways to meaningfully integrate the practice of mikveh into their married lives or other relationships, while others have found creative uses for the mikveh to mark other significant occasions—ordination as a rabbi, divorce, healing from illness, etc. This section has rituals and articles dealing with mikveh in the context of sexual relations. Look in the other relevant sections (conversion, healing) to find uses for mikveh in those contexts, or do a keyword search for mikveh.
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