Tag Archives: friday night

Friday Night Mikvah

I think going to mikvah on a Friday night (or a Yom Tov night) has to be the most difficult night to go. Especially if you have young children. Especially if you have older children. Whether it is right or wrong (and we have had this discussion a time or two) we don’t really want our children knowing when we are going to mikvah, when we are Niddah, when we are not. It just is not modest and not something to share with children.

On Friday night the time to dunk is usually around the time the men start to daven maariv in shul. When one has little kids, and needs to go, from what I have learned, it is incumbent on the husband to stay home from shul and watch his children while his wife performs this mitzvah. It’s easy when the children are small to tell them mommy has to go help a friend. But what do you tell them when they are teens and they notice that their father is not in shul and won’t buy the “friend” story? Or they come home from shul and they notice that mommy isn’t there?

I have heard a time or two that many women push off mikvah if it falls on Friday night. They will just go Saturday night instead. This bothers me so much. Yes it’s annoying to have to make arrangements to go on a Friday night, but the annoyance is far outweighed by the joy of being able to reunite with one’s husband – and on Shabbat too, a double mitzvah.

So, help me help other women – what works for you for Friday night mikvah? How do you manage to get it done without the children being any the wiser? What about if you are staying at friends for Shabbat, or if you have a simcha, or company staying with you? How have you managed it then? Do you think it’s fair to the husband to push off mikvah for a night, just for convenience sake?

Edited to Add (thanks MG) – what do you do when the mikvah is not within walking distance?

(inspired by IR)

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Od Shlomo Chai – Reb Shlomo lives on

I lit the Shabbat candles with my precious children around me, bringing their light into our souls. As a family we left home to daven at a new minyan, eagerly anticipating the start of the service. Five weeks ago this weekly Friday night service started, billed as a Carlebachian minyan. This week was our first time attending.


The shul was filled to capacity when Kaballat Shabbat services started. There were only a few women there, but I was very proud to be one of them. The men’s section was packed. When the chazzan starting singing Lechu Nerananah it seemed as if Reb Shlomo was singing it himself, was there with us in that room. His beautiful melodies were channeled through the chazzan, and I felt my spirit lifting. By the time the second paragraph was started, everyone was singing along, feet were tapping, we were clapping, Puffin was boogying along next to me.


We segued into Lecha Dodi, the tunes so spiritually uplifting, such a balm for my soul. I felt myself carried up to a different plane. My eyes closed as I swayed to the music, my voice joined in with the others’ in song and devotion to G-d. There were tears of joy gathered in my eyes, and my heart knew a fullness it hadn’t felt in a long time. I have never been so moved by prayer as I was this night. I have never felt so free in my devotion to G-d. The tunes and melodies just kept coming – never has prayer felt so sweet.


When this beautiful rendition of Kabbalat Shabbat and Maariv was over, there was dancing in the shul – pure joy at being Jewish, pure simcha to celebrate Shabbat together with our fellow Jews.


It has been about 15 years since I previously attended Friday night services. It isn’t done much where I live. Traditionally the women stay home, and the men go to shul. When I was personally invited to this minyan, I just had to try it out. I am so thrilled that we went. My boys even felt the specialness of the tefillah, and have told me that this minyan is where they will be davening every Friday night from now on. They are too young to truly understand how amazing Reb Shlomo was, but what they experienced Friday night gives them a solid foundation and understanding about how deeply spiritual prayer can be.


Even now, over 24 hours later, I am still moved, I can still hear the niggunim in my head. I will sign off now, wishing you a Shavuah Tov, a good week, and leave you with some clips of Reb Shlomo, may he rest in Peace. Part one, Part two, Part three, Part four, Part five, Part six , Part seven a , Part seven b, Part eight, Part nine a, Part nine b



I wrote my speech this week, the one that I am planning to give at the barmitzvah. I had no idea that it would be as emotionally wracking as giving birth. I love to write, I love words, I love creating with the gift of words. I am hardly ever at a loss for words. Yet every time I have sat down to write this speech, I have been unable to verbalize my feelings. How can you write about unconditional love in words? How does something so profound, so much a part of who I am, get reduced to a few sentences, and have justice done to it??


I had some ideas for what I wanted to say, and I know I had to include a dvar torah, being a religious occasion and all. I didn’t want to say a drash on the week’s parsha, because I am sure the rabbis and other speakers will all do that, my son too. I wanted to do something different (hey I have to be me) but appropriate.


After the Barmitzvah is over, I will reprint the speech here. Hopefully it won’t be tear stained on your screen. But I wanted to share with you the main idea, because I cannot explain how it occurred to me, it just appeared through my fingers.


Every Friday night in many religious households the parents bless their children. They put their hands on the child’s head and ask G-d to bless them to be like Efraim and Menashe – for boys, and like Sara, Rivka, Rochel and Leah – for girls. It’s a very moving time, and I feel a tear in my eye with each child I bensch, every single time. I always end off by telling the boys that I love them (and usually leave them a huge lipsticked kiss in the centre of their foreheads)


So I decided to take this idea of bensching them, and find out why these specific men are to be emulated, and turn it into an appropriate dvar torah. It has a wonderful message to it, all about sibling unity, loving your brother as yourself, staying steadfast in Judaism no matter the exterior temptations etc. I think it is a wonderful and applicable message to a barmitzvah boy, especially who is one of four brothers.


Of course I added the requisite praise for my barmitzvah boy, and I also included a sentence or two for each of his brothers. It won’t be a long speech, but it will definely give the guests a glimpse into this mother’s heart, into how she feels on such a wondrous day.


Here is a brief excerpt:

“I am so blessed to stand before you all today. I make this promise in front of all of you. I will continue to raise my sons in the warmth and love of Yiddishkeit, I promise to do my best to continue to imbue in them a sense of belonging to their people. I thank G-d for His abundant gifts, and I thank Him for the opportunity of having these children in my life. While we may never know what’s in store for us, I have faith that it will all be for the good.”


I am hoping to speak just before my son, and to have the honour of introducing him. He told me he was sad in a way that my speech is happening on Shabbat – he wanted to videotape it and keep it for posterity. I haven’t let him read it, and have promised nothing it contains will embarrass him. I honestly hope I can make it through without crying too much.


A sweet little story. We were at the store this week picking up his altered suit and ties and stuff. He was so excited. I hugged him and said “son, I am so proud of you” (yes, tears in my eyes) and he said “Ima, why? Coz I was born?” and I said that that was exactly why. He rolled his eyes and thought I was weird. I told him that when he will be a mother he will understand 😉 . I truly am proud of him for being born, for being the boy he is, I am so honoured and privileged to be called Ima by the four most amazing sons in the universe. Being a mother is so much more than anything a word, a sentence, a book, could ever say.


Shabbat Shalom!