So Iâ€™m faced with the question as to whether or not I will take a dip in the Mikvah â€”figuratively or literally.Â Iâ€™m left to ponder both the traditional and the contemporary and what either of the two would mean to me.
When we take a look at what a trip to the Mikvah means in the traditional sense, I am left almost speechless at how central it is to Orthodoxy.Â You see.Â The idea is that with full immersion into a body of water, one can find ritual purity.Â That is to say, you are washed clean of the things that make you impure.
Traditionally, it has different uses for men and women, but in the end it boils down to cleansing your self/your soul after one journey and before the next.Â It sets you up with Tabula Rasaâ€”a clean slate.
So why wouldnâ€™t I want a clean slate before the wedding?
Can I achieve that without the traditional bath?Â Is there something else that I can do that would achieve the same goal for me spiritually?
Would skydiving feel the same to me?
Itâ€™s not that I am against this tradition.Â It is, in fact, something that seems beautiful and honest and something that I would be TOTALLY intoâ€”if it didnâ€™t feel so stuck in the past.Â The thought of a woman bathing herself in the Mikvah after each menstrual cycle before she can resume sexual relations with her husband just doesnâ€™t sit right with me.Â I think that it boils down to my egalitarian views on what a relationship should be and the inequalities that I see between matriarch and patriarch in organized religionâ€”not just Judaism.Â Itâ€™s traditions like these that I feel solidify gender roles in the past and donâ€™t look to our modern day for guidance.
There I go again.Â Leaning left.
I have some thinking to do.Â How can I achieve what I will perceive as a ritual cleansing without the tradition?Â If I donâ€™t follow tradition, should I even bother?