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Court: Why are Women Grilled at Mikveh?

Will single women soon be able to visit their local mikveh with no questions asked?

The High Court of Justice last week required Minister of Religious Services Yakov Margi and Chief Rabbi of Israel Yona Metzger to explain within 45 days why women are not allowed to immerse in the mikveh without being asked personal questions beforehand.

The demand was made by Justices Elyakim Rubinstein, Esther Hayut and Uri Shoham, following a High Court discussion of a petition filed by religious women’s forum Kolech, the Center for Women’s Justice and two unmarried women, requiring that single women, widows and divorcees be allowed to immerse in the mikveh without any restrictions.

The rabbinical institution opposes the move, as some view the immersion of single women as authorization to have sex out of wedlock.

The Chief Rabbinate and Religious Services Ministry’s representative, Attorney Hani Ofek, tried to convince the judges that ritual baths were legally subject to the authority of religious councils, which determined procedure in accordance with Jewish Law.

The petitioners’ representative, Attorney Susan Weiss, argued that this was a case of forbidden discrimination on personal grounds of marital status.

“Our country belongs to all Jews who want to immerse before their marriage,” she said. “The mikveh belongs to those who want to visit the Temple Mount as well, to the woman who wants to be purified.”

Immersion for all

In the petition, the High Court was asked to cancel the instruction preventing unmarried women from visiting ritual baths, as well as to publish a statement clarifying that the minister and rabbi’s instruction on the matter was just a halachic ruling for public information, but should not be used to prevent single women, widows and divorcees from immersing in the mikveh if they wished to do so.

The petition was filed after a female soldier approached the Center for Women’s Justice in April 2010, following several failed attempts to immerse in her local mikveh because she was not married.

The petition noted that the soldier viewed the act of immersion as part of her religious faith and spiritual work, and that the bath attendants explained that they could not let her immerse due to orders issued by the religious council.

Due to the refusal, the petition stated, the soldier was forced to lie about her marital status or travel to the sea or springs in order to immerse.

Another case mentioned in the petition is of a new immigrant who approached the Center for Women’s Justice after seeking to escort her host to the mikveh on Yom Kippur Eve in September 2009.

Upon her arrival, the bath attendant refused to let her immerse in the ritual bath because she was single, describing such an act as blasphemy, heresy and hypocrisy.

The petition was filed along with a letter written by Rabbi Metzger, in which he stresses that an unmarried woman – whether single, widowed or divorced – must not be allowed to immerse in the mikveh.

Source: Ynet News

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Posted by on September 9, 2012. Filed under Jewish News,Slider. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

4 Responses to Court: Why are Women Grilled at Mikveh?

  1. Rebetzin

    September 9, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Shame on you for posting such a disgusting article on a frum Jewish site.

    Any person that is a shomer torah Umitzvos understands what a mikvah was meant for and you are undermining the entire holy meaning of it by playing into the non-frum Jews.

    I fully understand why they are being questioned, because the mikvah is not made for single girls that have chosen that life style. Enough said

    • Ruchie

      September 9, 2012 at 10:41 pm

      I agree with everything you say and that is why 5tjt is 100% right for posting this article. We must continue to defend what has always been the halachic way of doing things. People must know how our yesodos are being undermined and must do all they can to support those who are trying to protect them.

  2. Makes My Skin ARGGHHHHHH

    September 9, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    The chutzpah of questioning a Bas Yisorel when she goes to the mikveh is terrible and should not be tolerated.

    As a frum Jewish woman I am appalled, offended and outraged at such behavior. Who made you God? Who gave you the authority to question a young woman why she decided to use the mikvah?

    If you ever wonder why frum people are so hated, wonder no more! How dare you put your interpretation onto others? Do you know where this woman stands in life? Do you know what this night might do for her down the road? Do you think by denying her the mikvah you will avoid anything?
    It is sickening that when anyone wants to change one iota of our tradition or belief we are up in arms, but we are so quick to demand others to be exactly the way we want them to be.

    Instead of talking to the girl and trying to show her compassion, teach her the torah with love and trying to give her heartfelt love, they go and abuse her for this.

    Yet when the government just wants you to sign a piece of paper that you are aware of the danger of Metzizah B’peh, it’s the end of the world.

    • Ruchie

      September 9, 2012 at 10:39 pm

      According to halacha, a woman goes to the mikvah to prepare her for relations after she was a niddah. Please explain why a single, divorced or widowed woman needs to go to the mikvah. The rabbanim are correct that this opens the door to improper and assur relations. There is no precedent which allows this. This is all part of the “equality” game that so many of you play and THAT makes MY skin…..