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What is a mikvah wedding?

In Jewish tradition, marriage is a sacred commitment that is not simply marked by a public ceremony or legal document. It is a covenant between two individuals before God that involves deep spiritual preparation and introspection. One of the key elements of this preparation is the mikveh, a ritual bath that allows the bride and/or groom to symbolically cleanse themselves and enter into a state of spiritual purity before their wedding day.

In this post, we will delve deeper into the significance of the mikvah wedding, exploring its history, purpose, and modern-day practice.

What Is a Mikveh?

Before we can understand the role of the mikvah in a Jewish wedding ceremony, it is essential to understand what a mikveh is and its significance in Jewish tradition.

The word mikveh (pronounced MICK-vuh or mick-VAH) comes from the Hebrew word for “collection” or “pool.” It refers to a ritual bath that has been specifically constructed for the purpose of spiritual purification.

In Jewish law, a mikveh must contain at least 200 gallons of water in order to be considered valid. The water must be naturally flowing, such as from a river or a spring, or must be drawn from a natural source, such as a well. The bath itself must be constructed of materials that do not absorb water, such as concrete or tiles, in order to prevent any impurities from entering the water.

The mikveh is used for a variety of purposes in Jewish tradition. One of its primary uses is for the purification of women after menstruation or childbirth. It is also used for conversion to Judaism, before the observance of certain holidays, and before certain religious ceremonies, such as a wedding.

The Role of Mikvah in a Jewish Wedding Ceremony

In a Jewish wedding ceremony, the mikvah plays a crucial role in the preparation of both the bride and groom.

For the bride, immersion in the mikvah is a way of marking her transition from being single to being married. As she enters the sacred waters, she is symbolically cleansing herself of any negative energy or influences from her past relationships and preparing herself for the new life she is about to embark upon as a wife.

For the groom, immersion in the mikvah is a way of taking on a new spiritual identity as a husband. As he immerses himself in the water, he is leaving behind his old identity as a single man and embracing his new role as a married man.

After immersing themselves in the mikvah, the bride and groom are considered to be in a state of spiritual purity and readiness for marriage.

The History of the Mikvah

The use of the mikvah for spiritual purification dates back to ancient times. In the Bible, there are multiple references to the use of water for ritual purification, such as in Leviticus 16:4, which states, “He shall put on the holy linen tunic, and the linen pants shall be on his body, and he shall be girded with the linen sash, and with the linen turban shall he be attired; these are the holy garments; he shall bathe his body in water and then put them on.”

The practice of using the mikvah for spiritual purification continued throughout Jewish history, with the construction of public mikvaot (plural of mikveh) in many Jewish communities. During times of persecution, Jews often went to great lengths to construct hidden mikvaot in order to continue practicing this important tradition.

Today, mikvaot can be found in many Jewish communities around the world, and are used by both men and women for a variety of purposes.

Modern-Day Practice

In modern times, the use of the mikvah for spiritual purification is still an important practice for many Jews. In the context of a wedding ceremony, immersion in the mikvah is often considered to be an essential part of the preparation process.

Many couples choose to attend a special mikvah preparation course before their wedding, which involves learning about the history and significance of the mikvah, as well as practical information about how to prepare for immersion.

As with many ancient traditions, the practice of the mikvah has evolved over time to adapt to modern needs and sensibilities. Today, many mikvaot offer private immersion options, as well as more gender-inclusive practices.

Overall, the mikvah remains an important element of Jewish tradition, serving as a powerful symbol of spiritual purification and readiness for important life transitions such as marriage.


In Jewish tradition, marriage is not simply a legal or social contract, but a covenant between two individuals before God. The mikvah wedding tradition is a powerful symbol of this spiritual commitment, allowing the bride and/or groom to enter into a state of spiritual purity before embarking on their new lives together.

While the practice of the mikvah has evolved over time, its significance remains a powerful reminder of the sacredness of marriage and the importance of spiritual preparation. Whether one is deeply involved in Jewish tradition or simply curious about its practices, the mikvah offers us a window into a rich and meaningful tradition that continues to impact lives today.


What happens during mikvah?

A mikvah, in Jewish tradition, is a ritual bath used for spiritual purification. The mikvah has been an important part of Jewish life for thousands of years, dating back to biblical times. The word “mikvah” in Hebrew means “collection of water,” and it refers to a pool of water, usually fed by a natural source, that is used for ritual immersion.

In Jewish tradition, there are a number of reasons why someone may choose to immerse in a mikvah. One of the most common is for spiritual purification, particularly for married women. According to Jewish law, a woman is required to immerse in the mikvah seven days after the end of her menstrual cycle before she is permitted to resume sexual relations with her husband.

The process of immersion in the mikvah is a ritual that involves a number of specific steps. Before entering the mikvah, the person must remove all clothing and jewelry, and must thoroughly clean their body to ensure that no dirt or contaminants remain. They then immerse fully in the mikvah, usually three times, in a way that ensures that all parts of their body are fully immersed.

In addition to serving as a tool for spiritual purification, the mikvah is also an important part of other Jewish ceremonies, including conversion ceremonies and preparations for Jewish holidays. In all of these contexts, the mikvah serves as a symbol of spiritual renewal, a way to leave behind the old and embrace the new.

The mikvah is a significant part of Jewish tradition and plays an important role in spiritual purification and renewal. While the specific steps involved in the mikvah ritual may differ depending on the situation, the underlying theme of immersion in water as a way to symbolize spiritual transformation remains a powerful and enduring part of Jewish tradition.

Do men go to mikvah before wedding?

In Judaism, mikvah is a ritual bath used for the purpose of purification. Both men and women have traditionally utilized the mikvah for various spiritual reasons. In the context of weddings, it is common for men to go to the mikvah prior to the wedding ceremony. The reasons for this practice vary, but many believe that purifying oneself in the mikvah can help clear one’s mind and create a spiritual readiness for the upcoming wedding.

The practice of men visiting the mikvah before their weddings has been around for centuries. It is believed to be based on the idea that marriage is a spiritual union between two people, and that both partners should be spiritually pure before entering into this covenant. This is especially important in Jewish tradition, where the wedding ceremony is considered a profoundly sacred event.

While not all men may choose to go to the mikvah before their weddings, it is a common practice in many religious communities. Some people also believe that visiting the mikvah can help bring good luck to the marriage, or that it serves as a way to purify oneself before embarking on a new phase of life.

Apart from weddings, some men visit the mikvah for other spiritual reasons as well. In Orthodox Jewish communities, for example, it is common for men to visit the mikvah before the Sabbath or holidays as a way to spiritually prepare themselves for these occasions. Additionally, men who are converting to Judaism are required to visit the mikvah as part of the conversion process.

While the practice of men visiting the mikvah before their weddings may not be universal, it is a deeply ingrained tradition in many Jewish communities. For those who choose to do so, it can serve as a powerful spiritual practice that helps prepare them for this important life event.

Are you allowed to shower after the mikvah?

The practice of visiting the mikvah is a very important aspect of Jewish marital life. A woman who experiences a menstrual cycle is considered to be in a state of niddah, which means that she is temporarily separated from her husband and prohibited from engaging in any intimate activity. This separation is lifted once she immerses herself in a mikvah, a ritual Jewish bath that symbolizes spiritual purification. However, a common question that arises is whether a woman is allowed to shower after immersing in the mikvah.

Some rabbinical authorities recommend that a woman who wishes to shower after visiting the mikvah should first touch her husband to formally demonstrate that she is no longer in a state of niddah. This is done to ensure that there is an understanding that the couple has resumed their physical relationship once she has immersed herself in the mikvah. Once this is done, there are essentially no restrictions on showering afterwards.

It is important to note that the practice of showering after the mikvah may differ among different communities and traditions. Some people may choose to abstain from showering completely after immersion, while others may prefer to follow certain guidelines or rituals before showering. However, in general, once a woman has immersed herself in the mikvah and has touched her husband, she is considered to be in a state of purity and can proceed to shower or engage in any other activities as she sees fit.

The practice of immersing in the mikvah is an important ritual in Jewish marital life, and it is typically followed by touching one’s husband to signal the end of the niddah period. Once this is done, a woman is considered to be in a state of purity and can freely engage in any activities, including showering. However, it is important to note that specific practices and traditions regarding showering after the mikvah may vary among different communities.

Can a woman go to the mikvah during the day?

The mikvah, a ritual bath, is an integral part of Jewish practice, particularly for women. The question of whether a woman can go to the mikvah during the day has been discussed by Jewish scholars over the years.

According to Jewish law, women only go to the mikvah at night. This is based on the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Dei’ah 197:3), which is widely accepted as the authoritative source for Jewish law. The reasoning behind this is that the immersion in the mikvah is meant to symbolize the transition from darkness to light, just as the Jewish people went from darkness to light when they left Egypt. It is also meant to symbolize the rejuvenation of the soul and body.

Men, on the other hand, when they go to the mikvah on Erev Rosh HaShanah or Erev Yom Kippur, based on the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 606:4), go during the day. However, this is considered to be an exception to the rule, as it is specifically mandated by Jewish law.

There have been some discussions within the Jewish community about whether women could go to the mikvah during the day under extenuating circumstances, such as illness or emergency situations. However, the consensus among Jewish scholars is that this is not permissible.

In addition to the religious aspect, there are also practical concerns about going to the mikvah during the day. In most Jewish communities, women visit the mikvah in the evening when it is dark outside, in order to maintain their privacy. Going to the mikvah during the day could be difficult logistically, as it would require finding a time when the mikvah is available and the woman is able to take time off from work or other responsibilities.

According to Jewish law, women are not allowed to go to the mikvah during the day. While there have been some discussions about exceptions to the rule, the consensus is that it is not permissible. Additionally, there are practical concerns about going to the mikvah during the day, making it difficult to implement even in exceptional circumstances.

Can a man see the bride before the wedding?

The tradition of not seeing the bride before the wedding is a common practice in Western cultures, but it’s not a rule written in stone. While some couples choose to follow this tradition, others decide to break it and see each other before the ceremony.

The idea behind the tradition is that the bride and groom should save the moment of their first look for their wedding day. It is believed that by avoiding each other before the ceremony, they create a sense of anticipation and excitement that makes the moment they finally see each other all the more special. The tradition may also help to avoid any last-minute cold feet or second thoughts before the big moment.

However, this tradition dates back to a time when marriages were arranged, and the bride and groom were not allowed to see or meet each other before the wedding. In modern times, couples have more freedom to decide what they want to do. Some couples find it helpful to break the tradition and see each other beforehand, as it can help to ease nerves and create a more relaxed and intimate atmosphere for the rest of the day.

In fact, the trend of “first look” photos, where the bride and groom have a private meeting before the ceremony to take photos, is becoming increasingly popular. This allows them to spend some time together and have a special, intimate moment before the craziness of the wedding day begins.

Whether or not a man can see the bride before the wedding is up to the couple. It’s important to remember that this is your wedding day (and your marriage), and you should do what feels right for you as a couple.