A Mikvah (or Mikveh) is a natural body of water or a gathering of water that has a designated connection to natural water. The pool is designed specifically for immersion, according to the rules and customs of Jewish law. It contains about 200 gallons of water.
Water is the primary source of all living things. It has the power to purify, to restore and replenish life. A Mikvah must be filled with living waters from a flowing source that has never been dormant, such as fresh spring water, rainwater, or even melted snow. The water is kept under strict hygienic control, cleaned daily and chlorinated.
A list of Mikvaot in the Greater London Area is maintained by the United Synagogue, and their website should be consulted for details.
mikvah.org.uk is another online educational resource with the aim of bringing an awareness and understanding of mikvah to Jewish women from all walks of life and religious denominations. Please click on the link to find out more. Please note that this is an external website not connected to the United Synagogue or Bushey Shul.
A Kelim Mikvah is a mikvah that is specially made for dipping cooking and eating utensils into. The Talmud says that immersing ones crockery pieces into a mikvah purifies and uplifts them. This is based on a verse in the Torah (Numbers 31:23) in which the Jewish people are told that any vessels taken from the Midianites by the Israelites after the conquest of Israel should be “purified with water”.
Kitchen utensils can be divided into three categories:
- Utensils not requiring dipping: wooden or plastic items.
- Utensils requiring dipping with a blessing: metal or glass items.
- Utensils requiring dipping but without a blessing: china or earthenware items.
Today, this would refer to utensils that are used for cooking or eating that were manufactured or owned by non-Jews. Before immersion, the appropriate blessing is recited. One should ensure that the water reaches all parts of the utensil. This can be achieved by briefly releasing the plate once in the water or, more safely, wetting ones hands before dipping or changing the holding position while under water. Alternatively, one can use a net bag or basket to dip one or several items together.
One should also be careful to remove all labels from the item that may act as a separation between the item and the water. Not all utensils require immersion and some that do, do not require a blessing.
In Bushey we are fortunate to have a Kelim Mikvah situated towards the back of the synagogue’s car park. If you require assistance in learning how to use a Kelim Mikvah then please contact our Rabbi for practical guidance.