Sunday, February 16, 2014

a shout out to mikvah ladies

We all hear horror stories about mikvah ladies. That one touched you when you did not wan to be touched, this one told you to do this, or you won't tovel, the other one made you wait while she chatted/walked away/picked her nose... we have all heard those. But how about some good ones?

I have been married for 11 years, and we have moved a few times, so I have been to different mikvaot dozens of times. What strikes me time and again, how often it goes well, it goes smoothly, and how much the mikvah ladies do behind the scenes for it to work. Often they do not get the recognition and appreciation they deserve because it is a tznius issue, and nobody discusses AFTERWARDS what went right.
  • A mikva lady asking me what I want checked, how I want to tovel and giving me utmost privacy.
  • A mikvah lady not batting an eyelash at my long nails.
  • A mikvah lady being all cool when I have to tovel on Shabbos. And motzei Yom Kippur. And Purim night. And seder night. And second day of yom tov. Inevitably there is more than one woman hanging around, waiting for the correct z'man, and inevitably the conversation goes: I was so worried that you are coming out just for me! 
  • A mikvah lady opening a mikvah on second day of yom tov just for me in a different community.
  • A mikvah lady who is all calm and smiles as I finally pull up, half an hour late, lost in unfamiliar community. 
  • A mikvah lady who tells me it's OK that I do not happen to have enough cash (I did not check the fee carefully).
  • A mikvah lady who makes me feel like I have all the time in the world to get ready.
  • A mikvah lady who is giving me later and later appointments as I am waiting for my husband to come home from being stuck in traffic.

So here is a shout-out to all the amazing mikvah ladies. The ones who do their job as it is supposed to be done.


  1. Yes! I agree that mikvah ladies are probably underappreciated. I've had good and bad, and the good make all the difference! Great post.

  2. Yes! I love this post! I'm going to add my own special shout-out here to anyone who blogs about mikveh.
    Of course, we ALL should, but too few of us do, for weird reasons of "tznius". We need to talk about our mikveh experiences, so our daughers and every OTHER woman, will know it's just as "mainstream" as Shabbos and Kashrus. Here are my own musings on going to the mikveh here in Israel.