She Sacrificed For Mikvah Then Something Incredible Happened

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dipatoeintomikvahDuring a family trip several years ago it worked out that I needed to go to the mikvah. I checked for the closest one online, and the website explained that you had to make an appointment ahead of time. I called the day before my mikvah date and left a message but didn’t hear back. I called a few more times the next day and finally got through. When I arrived, the mikvah lady informed me that I had actually called too late and only because another woman (who was already in a preparation room) had scheduled an appointment were they there for me. (Glad someone was responsible!)

The mikvah building was small and I couldn’t help but hear through the door as I got ready. The other woman dunked before me, then upon leaving, the mikvah lady (who seemed to know her well), asked her a question. “Why did you decide to start going to mikvah since you didn’t used to?” I couldn’t make out the other woman’s answer completely, but the mikvah lady was so moved that on my way out of the mikvah, she said she had to tell me the amazing story that the other woman had just told her. It was highly usual, and I immediately thought, “Um, you don’t know this, but I am a collector of amazing Jewish stories!”

I got myself ready to go and met the mikvah lady in the waiting room. What was the big news, I wondered? Well, apparently this other woman used to live in this community and had been traditional, but never went to mikvah. Upon moving to a larger Jewish community with more resources, she thought that going to mikvah might be the next right step for her, but she had an uncommon and very challenging situation. Ever since her first period, she had an unusually long cycle. How long? Two weeks of bleeding.

I didn’t know that something like this was even possible! Such a long period (which this woman had endured for decades) was inconvenient and unpleasant in its own right and had been untreatable through hormones. But when coupled with the laws of taharas hamishpacha (family purity) - which require a husband and wife to separate physically during the duration of the bleeding plus seven days of non-bleeding - well it would be a tremendous sacrifice. Only one week of physical intimacy each month between this woman and her husband would be allowed.

Despite all that, this woman decided with her husband that in order to increase their closeness to Hashem, they would start abiding by the laws of family purity. (How many people would be willing to do this, I wondered.) And then something incredible happened. After the woman’s first time going to the mikvah, the next time she got her period, she only bled for a week. The same thing happened the next month and the one after that, and ever since then, this woman’s period has been only a week long.

I immediately thought of Nachshon ben Aminadav – a man we learn about from the Torah who trusted in Hashem when no one else did. When the Children of Israel were standing in front of the Sea of Reeds (i.e. the Red Sea) and the Egyptians were closing in on them, Moshe asked God to split the waters, but they remained static until Nachshon ben Aminadav had the faith to enter the water. He descended further and further until he was neck deep. At the moment he was about to drown we are told that sea miraculously receded and the Children of Israel could safely pass through.

Now we can’t know for sure whether or not there was a correlation between going to the mikvah and the women’s cycle changing, and I’m very much aware that many who do mitzvos do not get see the reward right away or maybe ever in this world. But because we do not live in a time of revealed miracles, I guess it’s my hope that every so often we are shown something out of the ordinary as a reminder that while there are reasons to doubt, there are also reasons to believe. The strongest feeling I took from this experience was that I was supposed to be there at that exact time to hear this message so that I could share it with you.

May we have the strength to trust in Hashem during challenging times and challenging mitzvos, and may our commitment merit us to see revealed blessings.

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Allison Josephs About Allison Josephs

Allison is the Founder and Director of Jew in the City. Please find her full bio here.

Comments

  1. Tree McCurdy says:

    Yes. Things like these happen. Things like these, and more.

    It’s been a long time since I’ve been to mikvah.

    I started with our chuppah. Our community’s “Conservative”, but there is a mikvah, and our rabbi makes sure newlywed couples know what they need to, to take on the mitzvah. When things got hard, after my husband’s car accident and my battle with disease, mikvah kept us feeling whole and holy one night each month. And then my condition started to deteriorate… periods eighteen days apart, sixteen days apart. My doctor told me that even if they could stabilize me, I would never be stable enough to conceive a child, much less stay stable enough to carry a healthy child to term. When I did stabilize, my ovulations were early– too early for our rabbinic dispensations to help. It was improbable that we were even capable of having children, and impossible with mikvah. I was perimenopausal at age thirty-eight when we gave up. We gave up hope of having children. We didn’t give up mikvah.

    I miss mikvah. It’s been over a year now since I last went. Little mister just over a year old is sleeping in my arms as I type.

    Yes, these things happen.
    I am in awe every day of the miracle of my son. He is not my reward for performing the mitzvah; the merit is not in me. When such things happen, they happen for the sake of the Name. Doing the mitzvah just offers a door.

    • Allison Josephs Allison Josephs says:

      wow! what an amazing story! thanks for sharing and mazel tov on your baby!

      • so beautiful such a happy ending to this I too am perimenopausal at 45 not sure if I’m understanding the symptoms I’m having looking for a person to talk to about what I’m experience has been 3 months since Mikvah missing going as well! please contact me thanks

    • Devora Sara Alon says:

      Thanks for sharing! May HKB’H’ bless you with only nachas from your son and hatzlavha in all you and your family do!

  2. I’ve always had messed up cycles and PCOS. But since I have given tzedaka to the mikva, my dates have been 30/31 for 3 years now. Just this week, I was late. Checked the dates and realized that I needed to send in the check. Already posted!

  3. Hi.

    Very very moving! Amazing! Sometimes we do get lucky and get a glimpse of the bigness of Hashem in this world. I’ve seen things in my face, which I can’t deny comes from the one above.

    Makes life just a bit sweeter when we get a hug and a kiss from Hashem.

    Thanks so much for sharing!! I LOVE and follow your posts. Keep ‘em coming!

    Chavy

  4. Mordy the Realist says:

    Thank you JITC. It is these simple, rah-rah stories on your site that helped me go OTD. If being frum was really so great, then there wouldn’t be this constant need to kiruv folks and then use community pressure to keep people on the straight and narrow.

    • Allison Josephs Allison Josephs says:

      Thanks for your comment, Mordy. I didn’t try to make this a simple story. I was careful to note that we can’t know for sure if there was a connection between the mitzvah and the result and that I’m *very* aware that most people don’t see immediate open rewards from mitzvos and many maybe never see them in this world. I am actually quite skeptical of the miracle stories that go around with no information as to who they happened to or when. The difference was I was there as this was being told over and I was careful to note that I don’t consider this proof.

      What I *would* argue in terms of mitzvos is that Shabbos with my family is something that I can see the benefits of here and now. Taharas hamisphacha with my husband is something I can see the benefits of here and now. Saying blessings throughout the day is something I see the benefits of here and now. I explained that it’s my *hope* that every so often Hashem shows us something more revealed, outside of nature. But I see positive results to my mitzvah observance all the time, although if I didn’t have people to spend Shabbos with or a good marriage, mitzvos wouldn’t make those things better. I wasn’t trying to offer a “quick fix.” I was telling a peculiar story that happened to me that I hope is God “winking.”

      In terms of “community pressure to keep people on the straight and narrow” – I am aware that communities like this exist. I’m not a fan of people adhering to mitzvos because others have pressured them to. I believe the motivation should come from within. That’s how my community operates. If you ever wanted to see how such a community looks up close, we’d be happy to have you for Shabbos.

  5. Allison,
    I am shocked at some of the horrible comments written above, one calling your article a ‘pile of garbage’. another was mocking tzniut. How terrible. It just shows that hatred is everywhere. I would love an explanation on how to deal with haters like these.
    I hope you don’t feel discouraged by what those people wrote. This article was beautiful!

  6. Devora Sara Alon says:

    Rebecca M. Ross emphasis on "fiction" Anyone needing help/support in an abusive relationship, check out http://www.shalomtaskforce.org
    Rebecca, your story is truly disturbing on many, many levels. I hope you never experience a fraction of such horrors.

  7. Very nice story, but just for the sake of accuracy, the story of Nachshon ben Aminadav jumping into the sea is not actually in the Tanakh; it's a midrash

  8. I’ve heard stories of women (two that I personally know) who were trying to get pregnant for years, made aliyah, and within a couple months got pregnant. Is there any correlation? Who knows? But it always makes me feel good to think that Israel is such a holy place that just the emunah to leave what you know and hold dear to make the leap into an unknown could impact your fertility. So is this mikvah story possible? Who knows, again? But it’s nice to think that it could be…

  9. will i conceive says:

    Hi there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I really enjoy reading your posts.
    Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same
    subjects? Many thanks!

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