the mikveh!

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I just know this is part you’ve been waiting for.

There are a bunch of mikvehs in Uman – there’s the permanent, year-round one; and I know of at least several private ones – but none of these matter. Because for any self-respecting, peyos-ed, mikveh-phile, there’s only place to be seen dunking: and that’s The Mikveh.

The Mikveh isn’t much to look at, from without or within. The walls are corrugated steel, and it might be the only mikveh in the world that has dedicated, Slavic guards (the fee, if memory serves, was $15 for an all-you-can-purify pass – unlimited! I don’t recall how much a single was). Inside – and serious mikveh-goers won’t be surprised here – there are actually two mikvehs, a hot and a cold one. (I don’t know why this, but I do know that I used to know why this is.) The tubs are in the center of a room that’s I don’t know how big, maybe like four good hotel rooms. There are (unused, as far I can tell*) showers on one side.

I initially tried the cold basin not out of preference – I hadn’t a clue which was which – but because it was empty. Significantly less crowded. But it was really effin cold. So to the other one.

Now, the hot mikveh is really quite hot. Hot enough that it takes a while to get your entire body in. This means that while everyone is acclimatizing their various body components to the heat, traffic jams ensue. The stairs are not wide, though many of the mikveh-goers are. (That said, it ain’t nothing like an American crowd.) So everyone’s kind of doing the mikveh dance, strafing, listing, sometimes twirling.

Okay. Then you dunk. There seems to be some sort of relationship between #of dunks –> cleanliness. I dunk three times, as I’ve been taught. Some guy next to me dunked like seventy.

And yes, when a dude with shoulder length-peyos goes in, he was to go way in to make sure it’s all underwater. I saw some guy, while underwater, kind of wave his hand over his head. I think it was to make sure all hair was submerged.

*Later I was told, and this makes lotsa sense, that the showers are only unused on shabbes/yontif. This year that was a three-day period: my hygienic implication still stands.

Written by menachemkaiser

13 September at 17:03

Posted in rants

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