Water Weights Exercises
Nevertheless, because God is not only a transcendent reality beyond the world He has made but also an immanent reality active within it, many Christians would accept that a variety of times, places, and materials have the potentiality of revealing the mystery of God. However, they’d always affirm that in any encounter, it’s God Who takes the initiative. He’s never at our disposal; He’s always a God of surprises.
In the beginning, there was only water. A miraculous compound, it’s the vivifying force of all life as we know it.
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But it is more. For these very same attributes water as source and sustaining energyare mirrored in the spiritual. Water has the power to purify, restore, and replenish life to our essential spiritual selves.
Jewish tradition relates that after being banished from Eden, Adam sat in a river that flowed from the garden as part of his attempt to return to his original perfection. To this day, water in a mikvah pool is used as a means of purification.
The world’s natural bodies of water its oceans, wells, and spring-fed lakes are mikvahs in their most primal form. They contain waters of Divine source and thus, Jewish tradition teaches, the power to purify. Created even before the world took shape, these bodies of water offer a quintessential route to consecration. However, they may be inaccessible or dangerous, and there may be additional problems of inclement weather and lack of privacy. Jewish life therefore necessitates the construction of mikvah pools, and indeed this has been done by Jews of every age and circumstance.
To the uninitiated, a modern-day mikvah looks very much like a miniature swimming pool. Its ordinary appearance, however, belies the complex web of laws that surround its construction and its primary place in Jewish life and law. The mikvah offers the individual, the community, and the nation of Israel the remarkable gift, of purity and holiness. No other religious structure or rite can affect the Jew in this way and on such an essential level.
The mikvah’s extraordinary power has held sway since the dawn of time. Before the revelation at Sinai, all Jews were commanded to immerse themselves in preparation for coming face to face with God. In the desert, the famed well of Miriam served as a mikvah, and Aaron and his sons’ induction into the priesthood was marked by immersion in it. In Temple times, the priests and any other Jew who wished to enter the House of God had to first immerse themselves in a mikvah. On Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement and most sacred of all days, the high priest was allowed entrance into the Holy of Holies, the innermost chamber of the Temple, which no other mortal could enter. This was the zenith of a day that involved an ascending order of services, each of which was preceded by immersion in the mikvah.
The primary uses of the mikvah today date back to the dawn of Jewish history and cover many elements of Jewish life. The most important and general usage is for purification by the menstruating woman within a framework known as taharat hamishpachah, family purity. Briefly, from the onset of a woman’s menses until after immersion in a mikvah, which takes place seven days after the cessation of her menses, the woman and husband are prohibited from expressing their love for each other in a physical manner.
The observance of family purity and immersion in the mikvah within that framework is a biblical injunction of the highest order. While most see the synagogue as the central institution in Jewish life, Jewish law states that constructing a mikvah takes precedence over building a house of worship. Jewish married life, and therefore the birth of future generations in accordance with Jewish law, is possible only where there is access to a mikvah. It’s clearly no exaggeration to state that the mikvah is the touchstone of Jewish life and the portal to a Jewish future.
In primitive societies, menstruating women were a source of consternation and fear. Peace could be made with menstruation only by ascribing it to evil and demonic spirits and by the adaptation of a social structure that facilitated its avoidance. Viewed against this backdrop, the Jewish rhythm in marriage is perceived by many as a throwback to archaic taboos, a system rooted in antiquated attitudes and a ubiquitous form of misogyny. In truth, family purity is a celebration of life and our most precious human relationships. It can be understood most fully within the larger concept of ritual purity and impurity.