Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mikvah on Erev Yom Kippur


Why do people go to mikvah on Erev Yom Kippur?

The practice of immersing in a mikvah before Yom Kippur, ideally in the afternoon, dates back to the period of the Gaonim at least twelve hundred years ago. Today it is generally done by men, specifically. Historically, some even immersed with a formal blessing, although modern practice is not to recite a blessing.

Some suggest that we immerse for ritual purification, while others suggest we intend to perform spiritual purification, like the angels. Other sources indicate that this is part of the process of repentance, and recommend this immersion even for women who are currently niddot.

Some recommend not to recite the viduy admission of sin, lest one recite G-d's Name in a place where people are not clothed.

(Rosh Yoma 8:24; Maharil Hilchot Erev Yom Kippur 3-4; Tur Orach Chaim 606; Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 606:4; Shaar haTziyun 606:22)

גמר טוב,

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