Culture, Identity, Politics, Religion

Living Waters

It was raining today- and I was on the way to the Mikvah. I had forgotten my umbrella and water was everywhere, on my coat, my bag, and the new mini Crockpot I was on my way to immerse. Water was flowing in a stream on the side of the street, and I- because right now I am studying the laws of the Mikvah- began to wonder what it would take to form a Mikvah out of this water.
Suddenly, I was frustrated that I was going to a community Mikvah, all set up- so that I couldn’t see the well of rainwater directly- instead of immersing my dish in this force of nature coursing through the city streets. The waters collected dirt, swirled around garbage, ran past tires and absorbed oil from passing cars- but they flowed.  It felt strange to go from all this rainwater into a place where it was carefully, legally collected into a still, ritually valid well.
When I got there, I rang the buzzer and someone let me in. I soon found myself alone in a room with a small container of water- relatively clean, clear and unmoving, connected by a small hole to the well of rainwater next to it.  Small things hinted at the community of people who trickle through this room, touching the Mikvah with their hands and their dishes.  Someone had hung a copy of the blessing on the wall.  I said the blessing, dropped in my dishes, and wrapped them back up, still wet.  They had run out of paper towels.

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