Why Does The Mikvah Make Me Pure?

The Meaning Behind the Mikvah Rituals

Beth Lesch

Beth Lesch



Why do we go to the mikvah? Yes, we do it because God commanded it — but why did God command such a strange thing?

What, you don’t think the mikvah is strange? You dunk in an 8x6-foot chlorinated swimming-pool-for-one and somehow, that makes you “pure”? Is there some meaning behind that, a mechanism, a reason why that would purify you? Or is the whole ritual just completely arbitrary? Could God just as easily have said: “I want you to purify yourself by immersing in a whirlpool filled with coconut milk” — and then He snaps His fingers and magically, you’re pure?

Where might we look for an answer to that question? Parshat Metzora is filled with laws about the mikvah, but nowhere does it say: “Here is the meaning of the mitzvah. Here’s why it purifies you.”

So if the answer isn’t in the “mikvah section” of the Torah, where else could we look?

Well… how about the very first time that the word “mikvah” appears? Where is that?

Strangely enough: It’s in the story of the creation of the world.

What is a mikvah doing in the creation story?? Could this be describing the very first mikvah in the universe? And what would that even mean?

Men, women: whether you already find mikvah to be a deeply meaningful ritual, or you struggle to connect to it, this video is for you. Watch it and never think about the mikvah the same way again.

Beth also dives deeper in the Mikvah laws in her blog post: Understanding The Laws Of The Mikvah: For Women... And For Men?

Click here to go to "The Keruvim In The Garden" video.