No talking after mikvah?


Ever hear of a practice/minhag/shtick of not talking after mikvah until she gets home to husband?

I assume it’s a spinoff of sorts from the very real issue of seeing/greeting a nonkosher person. But what do you think of this practice of taking it to the next step of not talking, not to the mikvah lady, not to anyone in the waiting room or parking lots, not to the kids? I assume it’s to focus on the task at hand, so to speak.

Good practice? Laudable? Dumb? Worthy of others but not for you in your situation? An ideal? Over the top? Impractical? Nice?
Is this good for shelom bayit? indifferent?

I personally have never heard of this before. Thoughts?


23 responses to “No talking after mikvah?

  1. OMG, I am sorry to say this but it is dumb. The mikvah part is nice, of course, but then how do you, in a big city especially, manage to not talk to people without being rude. I don’t think talking gets people impure unless they talk dirty … and if yo, I don’t think the mikvah cleanses them … maybe rinsing with soapy water 🙂 I think being rude vs talking to people nicely (even if they are not kosher) I’d prefer talking. Nicely 🙂

    If I lived in a big city and all my friends and my environment were “kosher”, I would be very, very worried … that would mean I need to get out there more 🙂

  2. I suppose if someone felt this was necessary for their own…what? Spiritual well-being? Mental work-through of the upcoming sexual intimacy? I suppose, then, that I could understand it. Otherwise…it seems just another way to try and make oneself “holier than thou.”

  3. Don’t think it is necessary to belittle the practices of others and certainly if they are not imposing themselves upon you. I am sure that nobody appreciates being called “dumb” for personally finding meaning in an action. While I have not heard of this before, I can imagine that it is a lovely continuation of the the mikvah experience.

    • Since I couldn’t find the actual text in the source given, I don’t know if the reference to a “nonkosher person” is from there, or just descriptive. If this custom would imply that, it is certainly already becoming “imposing on others” and borders on intolerance, judging other people and being plain rude. While everyone should be entitled to interpret the mikvah experience for herself, if this gets advocated we are in trouble and are once again sliding further down the slippery slope of heaping chumrah upon chumrah (many of which have been newly created and are not documented anywhere!). So, I wouldn’t call it “dumb”, but rather a “worrisome development”. Remember the “Burkah Rebbetzin” from Beth Shemesh! What’s next?

    • well, the question has been addressed as such and i expressed (freely and i think politely) my humble opinion. if you read my comment carefully, you will yourself see that there is no “belittling” of anything. if you are offended by it, i am sorry.
      i think the reason for your being offended does certainly not have much to do with my comment.

  4. Never heard of this before, and the ladies at the Chabad mikvah I use certainly don’t expect it of me. I’d be surprised if they held by it.

  5. Interesting… I have heard of a lot of “interesting” customs but this one is new. In my opinion, if it works for them, and they are not trying to insist that others do it… more or less it is OK. Though I think there could be several halakhic ramifications, I currently am a more than a little preoccupied. I just seem to remember several halakhot about returning greetings and such… but hey if you can avoid all of the actual halakhic issues(assuming my head just isn’t too far done in right now), and it makes the mitzvah more special to you somehow… feel free.

  6. To me it sounds like the latest “chumrah (stringency) of the week” of which i for one wish to have no part.

    • The thing is most Humrot(at least real Humrot) are thought out diligently so as not to transgress other areas of halakha. This one seems to be lacking that.

  7. I once learned that in “the olden days” talmidim would learn right outside the mikvah b/c it was thought that your child would take on the characteristics of the first person you spoke to after mikvah. So women would speak to scholars so their children would be scholars.
    This current custom may be an offshoot of that – so that their children will have the traits of their husband instead of that of a stranger.

    {I do not have sources on any of this, just something I once read that stuck with me b/c I found it interesting}

    • It sounds like more superstition to me, but some people are very happy to pile superstition on top of more superstition. If it makes them feel good and doesn’t harm anyone, who cares.

  8. lady lock and load

    I have never heard of this and wouldn’t take everything I read on too seriously.
    What I have heard is that after immersing in a mikvah the mikvah lady makes sure to touch me by patting me on the back (once I have a robe on) so the first person I come in contact with after tevilla is a “kosher” person. Whatever that means.

    • LLL, no offense to what your mikvah lady does but to me that sounds rather unusual too & i do not recall any mikvah ladies ever touching following my immersion in the mikvah. besides, what pray tell is a “kosher” person?!!! is my hubby kosher? are my kids kosher? are all jews kosher? i’ve really never heard of that term & who’s to say that the mikvah lady is “kosher”? she herself may likely be a niddah (menstruating lady) which likely would render her not kosher so i find this all very confusing even though i have been religious all of my life!!!

    • Oh that is weird … I’ve never heard of this “being touched by the mikvah lady” thing. Strange.

      Usually the first person I come into contact with is another woman heading INTO the mikvah.

    • our mikvah lady in Montreal always patted us on the back after we dunked. I thought it was standard at other mikvaot. I was told that the first person to touch you after you immerse is supposed to be someone tahor (pure).

      • Do mikwah ladies have to be tahor????

        • i was taught that women who are niddah themselves are not supposed to be the mikvah attendant, that they can only supervise an immersion if tahor themselves. Not sure if there is a halachic basis for that or not.

          • This is all the Shulhan Arukh says about the matter, She must appoint upon her an adult Jewess – who is over twelve years old and a
            day – at the time that she immerses in order that she should see that no hair of her head remains floating on the surface of the water.
            (Y”D 198:40)

            The Rama a little later saysWomen should be careful when they come out of the immersion to meet a friend in order that they should not encounter first a tamei animal or an idolater. If one of these have bumped into her, if she has fear of Hashem she’ll go and immerse again

            There is some disagreement between the commentators as to whether the mikva lady should touch her or just greet her. However, they all say she does not have to be “tahor” as in not nidda herself.

            Most of the things mikva ladies do today are simply humrot. Such as checking fingernails and such. Even saying “kosher” or “tahor” is a humra from the Arizal and is not found in strict halakha.

  9. lady lock and load

    Batya from NJ, I too thought it was strange but this is what they all do here. I think the minhag evolved because a woman might walk home and come across or a dog or (heaven forbid) a mouse so they want the woman to first come in contact with a “kosher” person and not an impure creature.
    I know some women who avoid going to the zoo when they are pregnant and I don’t follow these customs but they don’t bother me.

  10. Yipes. If this is the case than my mikvah ladies need to zip their lips! They’re always chatty on the way back to the changing room!

  11. My guess is that it’s an offshoot of not talking between washing one’s hands for bread, and eating the bread. The metaphor is obvious….

    The handwashing not talking thing is so that one should not become preoccupied in conversation, and touch something impure, thereby invalidating the original washing. Or forget to eat, thereby also invalidating the original blessing.

    Another reason for not talking after washing for bread (as well as other blessing for mitzvot) is so not to create a hefsek- an interruption between intent and action. Perhaps this is more apropos to this particular mikveh shtick. It gives people the sense that they are applying their holy cavanas from the mikveh to their marital relationship.

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