Recently, a woman from the nearby tri-state area was traveling through the Lehigh Valley on her way back home from a vacation and asked to use our mikvah. When she entered the mikvah building, she immediately commented with surprise how “gorgeous and spa-like” the mikvah is, in her words, “even more spa-like” than the mikvah in her very large Jewish community.
The Lehigh Valley mikvah truly is a beautiful facility, one in which the community takes great pride. It houses two mikvaot, or ritual baths, as well as spa-like amenities for preparation, including two jacuzzis. The mikvah building also houses a kelim mikvah, a smaller bath used exclusively for the mitzvah of immersing metal or glass utensils.
However, the beautiful exterior of the mikvah only mirrors the internal, deeply personal and spiritual nature of the mikvah’s uses. The Rabbis teach us that the mikvah is the cornerstone of any Jewish community and that building a mikvah takes precedence even over building a synagogue. While this important mitzvah connects the Jew to Jewish ritual dating back thousands of years, the relevance and spiritual opportunities speak profoundly to the modern Jew.
The primary uses of a mikvah are for a woman to use monthly before resuming intimacy with her husband, as well as for conversions. The mikvah waters have been compared to the womb. When a woman dips into the mikvah each month, she has the spiritual opportunity for rebirth, to shed the spiritual blocks and challenges of the previous month and to emerge from the mikvah waters anew and ready for increased connection and intimacy.
Similarly, when one converts, he or she emerges from the waters in a new status, ready to start his or her new life as a Jew.
The mikvah is open to the entire Jewish community, and more information about scheduling a visit can be found at lehighvalleymikvah.weebly.com.
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