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by: Rabbi Dan S. Wiko PhD
  See the rabbi's bio.
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This Month...

Editor's Comment
Michael looks at:
Farewell, Shalom and Adieu

An Open Letter from Abba to His Family

Enough With The Political Finger-Pointing!

Revisiting the Haggadah

Eddy's Recipe List
Victoria Sponge

Book Review
Unstrung Heroes

The Outspeaker
Encouraging violence is never correct

Good times and bad times with Batya

Nathan Weissler
What my friendship with Michael Hanna-Fein meant to me

Marjorie Wolfe
An Interview with Paul Reiser

BC's Backlot
The Last Shalom

This And That
My Treasure Chest

Three Symbols of Passover


Lynn Ruth Miller
How we all became part of a bigger story

Mel Yahre
A few words for my friend

Eddy's Thoughts
Don't let life flutter by

The Bear Facts
How I found Michael



On Thursday, February 14, 2008 I was asked the following question:

Dear Rabbi Dan,

I have always been confused as to the religious use of the Mikvah. I was once told that it is to cleanse the woman after she experiences her monthly period, and also just before she is to be married. But then I discovered that orthodox men also use the Mikvah for cleansing. Could you please explain the exact significance of the practice of the Mikvah?

This was my response:

The Mikveh serves, primarily, as a vessel for spiritual cleansing. By immersing oneself, all the impurities brought on by living in the material world are removed and the person becomes spiritually pure. In the case of women after their menstrual cycle, the Mikveh serves as the re-freshening well of purity that allows her to engage in sexual activity with her husband. Furthermore, the separation and abstinence from sexual relations during the cycle makes each post-cycle a "new" experience for the couple; a renewed dedication of their bond of love.

Men, too, go into the mikveh for spiritual purification. This is, usually, done just prior to the onset of Shabbat and serves to separate the daily mundane and materialistic from the sacredness of Shabbat. Some men take a dip as soon as they arrive at shul on Shabbat morning in order to feel closer to the spirit of Shabbat or Yom Tov.

If you have questions about a personal matter, or jewish practices and customs, you can submit them to me by e-mail. I answer all queries directly, or through this column, when the question is informative to our community.

Thank you for your kind attention and this opportunity to share with you,
Rabbi Dan S. Wiko
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