Family Purity

Waters of hope: the merit of family purity

Gadi and Irrit were a young Petach Tikva couple who used to make Kiddush on Shabbat and a Seder on Pesach as well as fasting on Yom Kippur but they did not keep Shabbat, Kashrut or family purity laws. The two were successful professionally and had a good marriage but had not merited children. They would dearly have loved to cradle a child of their own.

However the years passed and nothing seemed to move. Gadi and Irrit attempted all kinds of fertility treatments but none seemed to help and doctors told them that they would probably not have children of their own and hinted that they should consider adoption.

After seven years, with nothing moving, Irrit decided to strengthen her Jewish faith. She contacted a religious friend of hers who told her to keep Shabbat and Kashrut and to go once a month to immerse herself in a Mikvah. Irrit also began attending Torah lessons and felt a renewed sense of purpose.

Gadi accepted her new adherence to Mitzvot but did not disguise his conviction that it would not help them to have children.

The first time she had to go to the Mikvah was a wintry Friday night. Irrit was preparing to go out in the driving rain for the half-hour walk to the nearest Mikvah. Gadi was incredulous: “You must realize that this is mad. You can't walk around in this kind of weather. I'll take you in the car, you can sit next to me and you won't have to profane the Shabbat. I'll wait for you until you're finished”.

However Irrit insisted on walking, saying that “If I'm already doing something, I might as well do it properly”.

Gadi handed her an umbrella and said: “At least take this so that you won't be drenched” but Irrit already knew that an umbrella is forbidden on Shabbat and refused even to take this.

“That sounds a bit extreme” said Gadi casually and Irrit prayed that she would get back safely and not have to suffer her husband's criticisms of her new zealousness.

The rain was pouring down and Irrit hoped that at least she would escape the puddles and the passing cars spraying water all around, but she was soon drenched by one such car.

She started thinking that maybe it was too much to do this, maybe she should just give up instead of endangering her health. However she reached the Mikvah and calmed down a bit in the warm, pleasant atmosphere. After immersing she prepared herself for another challenging walk in the inclement weather. She tried vainly to evade the puddles and the splashing cars and had to deal with hail as well. When she arrived back, totally drenched, her husband quipped that she must have immersed herself in her clothes.

She laughed and thought to herself that the worst Mikvah trip was over and the next time would surely be easier…

However the next visit would have to wait, since nine months later she gave birth to a baby girl (without any fertility treatments) and they named her: Emuna (faith). 


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