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Even Yeshivish People have to go to the Mikvah

Up until recently, going to the Mikvah meant traveling 40 minutes each way, outside the city, then immersing in freezing cold water at 40 degree weather. It is for this reason that there were opinions that were lenient. In current times there are many modern and clean Mikvas available in almost every city and none of those reasons apply.

In addition there were leniencies given to students of Torah not to have to immerse for extra purity. Firstly there is no one today that even comes close to the levels of Torah needed to excuse him from going to the Mikva. Secondly all this is only when it comes for extra purity, not so today when everyone is at a state of deep impurity.

The last element is that many of the Tzadikim in Litah would go to the Mikvah privately for reasons of Tznius, people who did not see them assumed that they held that immersing in the Mikvah was not necessary.

It is an unforgivable sin that almost all Yeshivas today have no Mikvah and all their students study as Bali Keri their whole life.

For the original document in Hebrew and the sources click here.

One of the 48 requirements for attaining Torah is purity (Pirkai Avos 6 – 6)

Pelah Yoetz
Purity is the way to attain everything in Holiness. Since purity of the body brings about purity of the soul, one has to be very careful to purify his body so he will become stronger in fear, love, happiness and true devotion. If by purifying himself he will attain even a small amount of progress in Avodah it is worth it for him to do thousands of burdensome tasks and to spend much money. Therefore a person should not let anything get in the way of having him immerse in the Mikvah. This helps him to do Teshuvah and purify himself from his sins. This is especially true if he became defiled by impurity. Hashem is pure and his messengers are pure. A person that worships Hashem in purity his reword is multiplied by many times. A person who comes to purify himself is helped out by Heaven to understand and progress in Torah, as well as attain fear and love of Hashem.

The Words of Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky
In his Sefer Archos Yoesher Rabbi Kanievsky writes that the opinion of many of the past sages was that the Tivilah of Ezra was discontinued only for the study of Torah, however it is forbidden to pray until one immerses in the Mikva. This is the opinion of Rabbi Hai Gaon and Rabbanu Chananel and many other Reshonim. Even the Rambam who wrote that they nullified it totally, was attacked for this by the sages of Bavel and he replied to them that of course it was never nullified for even one second, however he could only write in his books what can be extracted as a direct Halacha. All later sages wrote that a person that is accustomed to immerse will come across much blessing. Even the Rambam himself writes that it is the common Minhag in Spain that a Ball Keri does not pray until he rinses himself.

In the Sefer Shalos Uteshuvos Min Hashamam (One of the Bali Tosfos who received divine answers) he asked if it was true that one can be lenient with the Tevilah of Ezrah. They answered him that prayer is like a sacrifice and it is not permitted to bring a sacrifice while one is impure. This causes the length of the exile, for if the Prayers of Yisroel were proper they long ago would have been answered.

In the Magid Masharim from the Bais Yosef the Angel tells warns him that one should not prevent from immersing when he is a Ball Keri for the reward for doing so is great. The Holy Arizal writes that the most necessary element needed to attain Torah is immersing in the Mikva so that he is pure at all times. In Brachos it says that who ever is careful about this lives an extended life. Many Gedolim never missed a day of going to the Mikva in their life as is brought down in their life stories. I (Rabbi Kanivesky ) saw in one safer that all the Sefarim that became popular and wide spread amongst the Jews was only since their writers were careful about immersing in the Mikva. Now a days that the Mikvas are very accessible and it is very easy to immerse for whoever it is possible he should be careful in doing so.

They asked Rabbi Chaim Knievsky, “A person that des not have time to immerse can he take out time from his studies to do so”. Rabbi Kanievsky answered “Whoever wants may do so as long as he is not stealing from the Kollel.

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky also said that there is a reason to immerse in the Mikva even when one is not impure since it still greatly raises his level of purity.

The words of the Stipler Z”L
A person should immerse in the Mikva regularly and Tivilas Ezra should be as if it is mandatory. This brings purity to the soul and holiness to ones mind.

The Stipeler Z”L would go to the Mikvah every day including Shabbos. He also built a Mikvah in his house on Rashbam 21 and then in his house on Rashbam 10.

He was once asked why his Sefarim became accepted across the Jewish nation. He answered that it was because he always immersed in the Mikva before he began writing them. Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky also relates that his father told him so.

The Chazon Ish Z”L
The Chazon Ish was very careful about immersing in the Mikva It is well known that he built a Mikvah in his house that was located on 31 Chazon Ish St. Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky relates that the Chazon Ish would always tell people to immerse when they were impure and on Erev Shabos. Rabbi Shmuel Aurboch relates that one of his friends was once by the Chazon Ish and he commanded him to immerse in the Mikva. He also tells over that his father was very careful about going to the Mikva.

Rabbi Shach Z”L
When Rabbi Shach was younger he would go to the Mikva every day. Even when Rabbi Shach became older he would always go to the Mikvah on Tuesdays before giving the Shiur Klali. Rabbi Shlesinger tells over that one week the driver did not arrive and Rabbi Shach walked to the Mikvah by foot.

Rabbi Shach would go to the Mikvah every Erev Shabbos up until ten years before he passed away.

A number of students from Panavich asked Rabbi Shach if they should go to the Mikva every day. He replied that they should definitely go for it is a very important thing however they should be careful not to miss prayers in the Yeshivah.

Sefer Hachinuch
Mitzvah number 175 is to immerse in the waters of the Mikvah and then we will become purified from the different impurities, as it says he shall rinse his flesh….This teaches us that one can not purify himself only by imersing in the water, we are commanded to do so when we want to purify ourselves. It is not the way of a righteous person to remain impure for impurity is disgusting and purity is very well liked. A persons soul rises and cleanses itself through purity.

The words of the Reshonim

Rabbanue Yonah – “Every one agrees that ones prayers are more accepted if he goes to the Mikva.”

The Rush –“Do not pray with unclean hands and with out purity for you prayers will not be accepted”

Rabbanue Tam - “His body should be clean and pure from all impurity he should be regular in cleansing he will then succeed for cleansing the body cleanses the heart.

The Meiri - “It is written that the words of Torah do not accept impurity, nevertheless who ever is stringent will see much blessing… In addition this also saves a person many times from sinning.

The Rambam – “The ignorant person that accused we of not being careful of purifying my body is a liar, for I call witness Heaven and Earth that I have never refrained from doing so.”

The Gra
Rabbi Yisroel Mishklov one of the greatest students of the Gra writes in his name that the Gra was extremely stringent about a Ball Keri immersing in the Mikva. The Sefer Bais Yackov writes “ The Gra was very careful about the immersion of a Ball Keri before he prayed. Rabbi Moshe Shturnbach writes about the fact that many in the Yishivos today do not go to the Mikvah. It is a great wonder to him for the Gra was very stringent about having people go to the Mikva. All this came about since all the Gedolim would go to the Mikvah in secrecy for reasons of tznious many would not announce that they went to the Mikva every day for this reason. It came out, in the end that people assumed that the Gedolim of Litah did not hold of going to the Mikva. Rabbi Shternbach then writes that this is completely wrong and it is the exact opposite and who ever can, should spread this so people do not deal in holiness while their body is impure.

The Customs of Gedoli Yisroel

The Gaon Rabbe Akivah Egar Z”L would go every morning to immerse in the Mikva, he did was not held back by rain or snow. Even in the days of the winter when the water was frozen he would still go. He was careful to go early in the morning before sunrise. Once when he was feeling ill his wife hid the keys to the Mikvah to prevent him from going. A half an hour later the Shamesh came knocking on the door with a different set of keys and said that the Rabbi had just appeared to him in a dream telling him to bring over the keys.

Rabbi Aryeh Laib said over about his father the Chafetz Chaim would always talk about the importance of the Mikvah and he himself never missed going to the Mikva in his life. He also writes over a story about a time when the water was boiling hot and the Chafetz Chaim was moser nefesh to immerse. When he came out he fainted and remained unconscious for a number of hours.

The Nitziv from Valazin would very often go to immerse in the Mikvah especially before Shabbos and Chagim.

Rabbi Yitzchok Elchonan Specter would immerse in the Mikvah at every chance he got often a number of times every week. Even in his old age when he was very weak he would force himself to go.

Rabbi Elyah Lapian told over that once a Kollel man entered the Yeshivah and the Saba from Kelm saw with his Roach Hakodesh that the man needed a Mikva. He immediately yelled at him for not going to the Mikvah and told him to go immediately. When he told this story to Rabbi Yackov Kaminetsky he replied that all the Gedolim of Litah were very careful about going to the Mikva however since they went secretly for reasons of Tznious it became forgotten.

In Taharas Hashabos Rabbi Chaim Shpitzer writes that he asked Rabbi Yackov Kaminetzki if the Gedolim in Litah were careful about going to the Mikvah. Rabbi Kaminetzki looked at him in wonder and said of course they were careful about going to the Mikva.

The Alter from Navardick would immerse every morning in the Mikvah only after checking that no one was looking.

Rabbi Mosh Feinstein writes that the Mikvah is necessary for anyone who wishes to progress in righteousness and spiritual growth.

Rabbi Banish Finkel would secretly immerse in the Mikva including on Shabbos.

The Bircas Shmuel from Kamanitz was very careful and greatly respected the Mikva. Rabbi Shlomo Valbe told over that he once visited Rabbi Baruch Ber in Kamanitz for a Shabbos and he was told by the students that only a person that immersed in the Mikva could go and say good Shabbos to the Rosh Yeshiva since he was able to sense it.

The Alter from Slabadka was known for immersing in the Mikva. He also stated that it was his wish that they should build a Mikva in his Yeshiva in Chevron.

Rabbi Elchonan Wassermen would never miss going to to the Mikva including on Shabbos.

Rabbi Ahron Kutler once over heard someone saying that the Gedolim of Litah did not go to the Mikva. He immediately groweled at him and said “The lips of a person that speaks lies should go mute” Rabbi Schwartzman once saw Rabbi Ahron Kutler immersing in the Mikvah on Erev Shabbos Chazon. He asked him how he could do so for only a person who goes all year round is permitted. Rabbi Kutler answered that the whole year round he is physically unable to go to the Mikvah for the great time consuming responsibilities are on his shoulders but in the summer he goes since there is more time it is therefore as if he goes all year round.

Rabbi Avrahom Kalmanazitch commanded that they build a Mikva in his Yeshiva, since he said that it was imposable to attain perfection in Torah without a Mikva. His grandson testified on him that he would go to the Mikvah even on Shabbos with great Misirus Nefesh in the cold and snow a trip that was forty minutes in each direction.

Rabbi Nasson Vachtfogel was very careful to immerse every day even in his old age. Many times he would go to the Mikva more then once in a single day. He used to encourage all his close students to go to the Mikva. He was very happy when they built a Mikva near his Yeshiva.

Rabbi Shloma Elyashuv would go to the Mikvah every single day until he reached very old age. He would often go at four in the morning, sometimes even as early as two am.

Rabbi Yehuda Zev Segal the Rosh Yeshiva of Manchester writes the following in a letter. Rabbanu Yonah writes that ones prayers are more accepted if he goes to the Mikva. We therefore have to do everything in our power that our prayers should be accepted, since all our power is only through prayer. Certainly today when are prayers are very weak at least it should be done when we are pure. I am strongly recommending that all Avrachim, students of Torah and Rabaim should be very careful with Tevilas Ezra.

Mikva on Erev Shabbos

Rabbi Chaim Kanievskey was asked if one can take off time from learning to immerse in the Mikva on Erev Shabbos. He answered “For sure, it is a Mitzva”. He also said that the Chazon Ish said that one should go to the Mikva on Erev Shabbos.

The Ramchal writes: On Erev Shabbos after Chatzot prepare yourself for Shabbos and go immerse to purify yourself from the impurity of the six days of the week. One who immerses removes all the flaws. He may immerse as many times as he wishes as long as the first time is to remove impurity of his sins and the last time to receive the holiness of Shabbos.

It says in the Zohar: When Shabbos comes in the holy nation must rinse themselves from the activity of the week. What is the reason, since during the week a different spirit goes and rests on the nation. When a person wishes to leave that spirit and enter a higher holier spirit he must immerse to receive that holier spirit.

Pela Yoetz: If at a regular time purifying ones self in the Mikva is good it is much more so on Erev Shabbos, Chagim and Rosh Chodesh. One has to do preparation to receive the holy influx that comes down on those days.

In Sefer Zichru Toras Moshe from the Chai Adom he writes that a person who is righteous and his actions are good, if he immerses in the Mikva on Erev Shabbos to receive the Holiness of Shabbos he will defiantly feel the additional Shabbos soul. These has been tested and proven by many people. However if he is impure then he will not feel the holiness of Shabbos.

Rabbi Chaim Vital writes in Shar Hakavanos that his mater the Arizal said that the holiness of Shabbos can be seen on a persons fore head immediately after he immerses. However the main light does not come down until after Chatzot.

Sefer Hakana – One who immerse on Erev Shabbos Hashem accepts his prayer and binds him with love.

Yesod Veshoresh Havoda – One should immerse on Erev Shabbos so he will not enter Shabbos while impure. Even a person that is not impure it is still a great Mitzvah for him to immerse on Erev Shabbos. For immersing in the Mikva helps one attain the extra Shabbos soul which he will defiantly not receive if he does not immerse.

Rashis Chuchma – The main thing a person can do with his body on Erev Shabbos to acquire purity and Holiness is to immerse in forty sah, to remove the garment of the week and replace it with the garment of Shabbos.

Imersing in the Mikva on Shabbos
(one should first learn the laws so he is not Michalel Shabbos)

The Shulchan Aruch writes that it is permissible for a person to immerse for his impurity on Shabbos and this has become customary. One should just be very careful not to come to Sechtah which is completely forbidden.

Rabbi Mosh Shternbach said he heard from an eye witness that the Chafetz Chaim would go to the Mikva on Shabbos.

The Stipeler was asked if one could go to the Mikva on Shabbos. He answered in great wonder it is clear that one can immerse on Shabbos, is it possible to pray without first going to the Mikva?”

Rabbi Elyashuv also says that it is permissible to go since there is not one person the argues with the Mishna Berura regarding this. This is also the opinion of the Gra that a person can immerse for his impurity on Shabboss he just has to be very careful not to do Sechita. Even a person that is not impure but wishes to immerse to receive greater holiness there is also no problem with that.

The Kitzur Shiulchan Aruch writes straight out that a person can immerse on Shabbos if he saw Keri.

The Chai Adom also writes that it is permissible as long as he does not squeeze the water from his hair.

For the original document in Hebrew and the sources click here.

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