First a blog reader asked the question and then someone phoned me.
“Is this Tzvi Fishman?” he asked.
Immersing in the waters of a mikvah helps a person free himself from the chains of spiritual impurity.
“That’s right,” I answered.
“The Tzvi Fishman who has a blog on IsraelNationalNews?”
“I confess that I do”
“Can I ask you a question?”
“Go right ahead.”
“In the photo of you, what is that thing on your shoulder?”
"On my shoulder?” I responded in confusion, not sure what he was talking about.
“It looks like you have a towel draped over your shoulder.”
“Are you a Jew?” I asked him.
“Yes,” he answered.
“I like to think so.”
“You pray, and put on tefillin and tzitzit?”
“And you don’t go around with a towel?”
“Why should I?”
“So you can go to the mikvah.”
“I go to the mikvah before Yom Kippur,” he said.
My mind raced, trying to think of the best way to answer him. Since many of our readers are not religious, let me explain in the simplest way that I can. Immersing in the waters of a mikvah helps a person free himself from the chains of spiritual impurity. When a Jew performs a commandment of the Torah, or does a good deed, he adds holiness to himself. The blessing we recite before performing a commandment indicates this, when we thank G-d for sanctifying us with His commandments.
On the other hand, if we do a transgression, we draw a spirit of impurity over us. This impure spirit, called a klipah or husk, is like an invisible, tight-fitting garment that accompanies us wherever we go. Since everyone makes mistakes in life, we all have a wardrobe of husks.
For instance, if you say something bad about someone, you draw down a spirit of impurity. If you think forbidden thoughts, you get another polluted garment. If you look at an erotic image on the Internet, you are rewarded with a heavy overcoat of smut. It turns out that if you wait until Yom Kippur to clean up your act, you can spend the year carrying around a couple million tons of pollution, which interfere with our health, with our relations with our spouses, with our Torah study and prayers. It is a little like the character in the cartoon “Peanuts” who is always walking around with a cloud of dirt around him.
Without the spiritual cleansing of the mikvah, the cloud follows you around wherever you go. Thus, immersing in the purifying waters of a mikvah plays an essential part in the commandment we have to “Be Holy!”
“If you went to the mikvah every day, your praying, and your putting on tefillin, would be much better,” I finally answered.
In truth, today, if a Jew wants to guard his holiness when he ventures out to the street, he needs more than a towel. To protect himself against all of the spiritual dangers, he needs a complete survival kit, including:
· Scratched and out-of-focus eyeglass lenses, so that he can’t see immodestly dressed women wherever he looks. · Earplugs so he won’t be tempted to tune into the poisonously leftist radio and TV.
· Candies to hand out to all of the angry and nervous people he meets.
· A towel so that he can go to the mikvah.
· A book of Psalms to help remind him that G-d is always there, even in the most difficult times.
· If he lives in the Diaspora, he needs a daily supply of oxygen from the Land of Israel, a subscription to IsraelNationalNews, and a copy of the book, “Torat Eretz Yisrael,” which is an indispensable guide to understanding the Redemption of the Jewish People as it is unfolding in our time.
As the old adage goes, “A mikvah a day keeps the doctor away.” If going every day is difficult, then try going one or two times a week. Try it, then tell me I’m wrong.