Did you ever dream of having a Mikvah for purification in your own home? Even if you haven’t, the option just became far more affordable than before. Until now such an endeavor included a lot of concrete and special architecture and engineering making it prohibitively expensive. But Gideon Ebenspanger came along and ‘reinvented’ the Mikvah to be inexpensively made without compromising one iota on Jewish law.
“I got into this totally by chance 7 years ago”, Gideon tells us. “A rabbi who is also a ‘mekubal’ (learned in the ways of Kabbalah) that I’m close with expressed the desire to have a mikvah in his home as he was careful to immerse himself daily. I started to think about how to make one truly inexpensive and easy to build.”
Gideon Ebenspanger is neither an engineer nor an architect or a builder. He used to work in computers and after speaking with his rabbi was drawn into the idea of mikvah construction and manage to create an invention he got patented. He ended up opening his company called ‘Mikvah Malchut’ a ‘mikvah of royalty’. Originally his Mikvah was certified kosher for men and for utensils 5 years ago. But 2 years ago his mikvah got rabbinical certification qualifying his mikvah for ritual purity for women which has much more demanding and stringent requirements according to Jewish law.
“I tried many different materials including wood and glass and in the end I started using special plastic sheets which enable me to build a mikvah to the highest most stringent halachic standards. Rabbinical authorities went over my blueprints and certified that I could use these plastic sheets to make the mikvah. There is no place where improvisation, cutting corners or human error can happen as it is manufactured in an assembly line.”
“Just as you get modular furniture from Ikea and you can put it together at home, you can order the ‘Mikvah Malchut’ kit. We bring premeasured and precut plastic sheets from the factory and we affix them to the floor which attaches to the foundations of the house. The reservoir fills with rainwater as in a regular Mikvah.”
What are the advantages of your mikvah as opposed to the regular mikvah construction?
“The advantages are many. A regular mikvah is made from a lot of concrete that really weighs a lot and its external dimensions are also really large as it needs really thick concrete walls. Our largest mikvah weighs 350 kilo so you can build it even on the top floor of an apartment building or in the ground if you want.”
“A regular mikvah needs a lot of insulation and waterproofing against leaks, ceramic and grouting which all potentially can crack and leak. Sometimes it’s a major undertaking to spot the source of a leak in a conventional mikvah. Our mikvah is very sturdy and won’t crack unless you hit it with a hammer. Even then, someone can come down and add another layer of plastic to reseal the mikvah.”
“Maintenance and heating costs are far less with my mikvah as the walls are insulated and have very little heat loss. Cleaning is also more straightforward; after emptying the mikvah all you need to do is wipe the surface dry with a cloth and that’s it! Since it’s plastic the dirt slides right off and doesn’t stick. In a regular mikvah you need to dry it up and look at all the caulking and sealants to make sure there are no gaps that could lead to leaks.”
How long does it take to construct your mikvah?
“From 1 to 3 days depending on its size. Some people need a mikvah with 1 reservoir some with 2 or even 3.”
Where can we see your completed modular Mikvah in operation?
“We installed one in Herzliya and another one in Ashchar, a yishuv in Northern Israel. Many Israeli rabbis and rabbis from out of Israel came to see the mikvah in Herzliya and were very pleased with it. It’s a great solution for small communities and Yishuv towns.” We’ve also since built in Hadera and Givat Ze’ev.
Ebenspanger says he has a whole list of rabbis who endorse his mikvah and this list can be found on his website. “The documents themselves are not yet publicly available as people can copy them and use them as a forgery and falsely pose as my company. That is also why the rabbis wrote strongly against those who would copy the patented design saying that it is theft. But anyone who wants to see the letters can call and I’ll happily show them to him.”
How do you know the mikvah is kosher?
“Every mikvah we build is built under the supervision of a Rabbi who is expert in the topic of mikvaot (plural for mikvah). This rabbi comes from the rabbinical court for mikvaot called ‘Maayan Hatohar’ Wellsprings of Purity. The rabbi oversees the whole construction process and upon completion issues a numbered certificate which is also registered on our website to certify that this mikvah is original from our company and was built according to all the necessary strict halachic standards.”
“My main goal and that of the Maayan Hatohar Rabbinical Court is to lower the cost of building mikvaot, simplify the process and increase family purity in our nation. We want to make this merit available to the masses and save people a lot of money too. You don’t need to get the structure from me and I’m happy to help with planning the infrastructure. I sell only my patented product and you don’t even need to get your heating or filtration systems from me. The main thing is to spread purity across our nation, Israel.
Note: For a woman to become ritually pure in such a mikvah she needs to fulfill the halachic requirement in the Shulchan Aruch Code of Law: “A woman needs to have an attendant Jewish woman age 12 years and a day or older to watch her immersion and make sure none of her hair is floating on top of the water.” (Yoreh Deah 198, 40)