Mercaz Har HaBayith - Temple Mount Center

Preparation For Tevila (Immersion In The Mikvah)

Preparation For Tevila

Under certain circumstances, a spring or the ocean can be used. A river should not be used without consultation with a rabbinic specialist.

The following was translated from instructions prepared by a family purity advisor from the Eida Hareidis community. The instructions were examined by Rav Cahana of the Eida Hareidis, and were printed (in Hebrew) with his approval. I have not written the advisor’s name because I doubt that she wants to be associated with people going onto Har HaBayith. Nor may one assume that Rav Cahana approves. I did not ask him, but I think  that he may not approve.

Anything appearing [in square brackets] is my own, either an addition or a different opinion.

The original was prepared for women regularly immersing after their monthly period, not for women going to the Temple Mount and not for men. I have added notes applicable to men. Women can follow the normal women’s instructions. Please note that a woman must finish being a nidah, and is she is together with her husband after that, she must separate from her husband for 72 hours and then go to the mikvah again. This second tevila for going to har habayith must be with all of the strictures of the first tevila, because the tevila for going to Har HaBayith is also required by the Torah.

Unmarried women should see Unmarried Women on Har HaBayith.

Men should see Tevila For Men


Day Of The Tevila

    1. On the day that one will go to the mikvah, until after the tevila (immersion in the Mikvah), one should not knead dough or handle other sticky things or things which are likely to get stuck under the fingernails, nor should one eat meat or chicken (neither regular nor ground). Fish and other foods are permitted.
    2.  On Shabbath and Yom Tov, Hol Hamo`ed and Purim one may eat meat and chicken [but one must be very careful that no meat is stuck between the teeth at the time of the tevila.] [It is doubtful whether this applies to men, ask your rabbi.]

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  1. The proper custom is to begin the preparations while it is still day, and to continue them until night (until the stars come out) and then to immerse in the Mikvah. [This refers to women, who normally immerse in the mikva at night.]
  2. If she does all the preparations at night, she should should spend at least an hour in mikvah preparation.
  3. When she prepares for the mikvah, she should sit for about ten minutes in a bathtub with water up to and above her bellybutton.
  4. All of the bathing, washing and showering should not be in very hot water, just nicely warm.
  5. You don’t have to do any of the washing and cleaning of parts of the body and inspecting the body, etc. more than once.


    1. [If there is anything (such as dirt, glue, cloth, grease, dries boold, dough, etc.) which separates between the water of the mikvah and the body of the person immersing in the mikvah, it can render the immersion posul (invalid). This substance is called a hatzitzah.
    2. If the substance covers the majority of the body or the majority of the hair, it is a hatzitzah even if the person doesn’t care about it. If it covers less than the majority, even a very small amount, if either the person immersing, or most people of the same gender are makpid (i.e. particular that they would want to remove this thing), then it is a hatzitzah.
    3. Someone who tovels (immerses in the mikvah) with a hatzitzah, it is as if the person did not tovel at all.]
    4. Anything that a person isn’t makpid (particular) about in general, and not to go to a wedding, and people in general aren’t makpid [other men for a man and other women for a woman], and it is something that the person only does because because (s)he is going to the mikvah, if the person doesn’t do it, it is not a problem and the tevila is still kosher. But if the person is particular about it at home or when going to a wedding, or most people [of that gender] are particular about it, it renders the tevila invalid.
    5. [The standards are slightly different for men and women, because men are not, in general, as particular as are women. For example, men do not in general comb their underarm hair, and they are not even allowed to shave it off. Women generally shave their underarm hair and married women who don’t shave it are supposed to comb it.]
    6. [One should bathe and clean oneself thoroughly before tevila.  This includes shampooing the hair, cleaning the fingernails, combing the hair, removing any stains, etc.]
    7. [One should achieve the state of bodily cleanliness that people normally would want to go to a wedding [or to an important appointment or date].
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Preparing The Teeth

  1. Brush the teeth with toothbrush and toothpaste as one would regularly in the morning. Use a toothpick to make sure that nothing is stuck between the teeth as appropriate, but only where there is enough room for the toothpick to enter normally.
  2. Someone who normally flosses on a regular basis (i.e. even when not going to the mikvah) should floss before going to the mikvah. One who doesn’t floss, doesn’t have to for the mikvah. If one flosses, there is no need to use the toothpick also.
  3. Rinse the mouth afterwards
  4. False teeth which can be removed should be removed.
  5. This should take about five minutes! Not more.

Preparing The Hair

  1. [Unbraid and untie the hair. Remove any pins, nets or fasteners or clips.]
  2. Shampoo the hair thoroughly with warm water and soap or shampoo and then rinse it well with warm water.
  3. Comb the hair thoroughly, removing any knots.
  4. Don’t use oily shampoo. Don’t use conditioner.
  5. (Someone with a shaved head or completely bald doesn’t need to comb the bare head.)
  6. Remove dandruff and scales as one would normally at home, and what remains is not a hatzitzah.
  7. Someone who has lice eggs should comb the hair with a metal lice comb. Any that are left after that are not a hatzitzah if the person isn’t makpid.
  8. Someone who has actual lice should comb them all out.
  9. Those who are accustomed to shave their heads in preparation for the mikvah should do so two or three days in advance and carefully rinse off any hair.

Preparing The Face

    1. Wash the face as one would regularly.
    2. Someone who normally doesn’t wash the face with soap, need not use soap on the face for the mikvah.
    3. A woman who uses makeup should remove it before immersing in the mikvah.

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Preparing The Eyes

  1. Remove any contact lenses.
  2. With a damp finger, remove any “sleep” or gook or anything else.

Preparing The Nose

  1. Blow the nose if necessary.
  2. Manually remove anything which needs to be removed from the nose.

Preparing The Ears

  1. Clean the exterior ear, in back of the ear, and in the folds.
  2. Clean the inside of the ear with a dampened little finger as far as it can go.
  3. Someone who normally cleans the ears with q-tips or the like at other times should do so to prepare for the mikvah, but someone who doesn’t normally do so, need not do so for the mikvah.
  4. Clean the holes for pierced ears (the ear-ring itself can be used for this) or the holes for any other body piercings. The ear-rings themselves should be removed before tevila.
  5. Someone who was pierced but no longer wears the ear-rings need not clean out the holes. It is enough to clean them on the outside by rubbing with the fingers.

Preparing The Nails (Finger and Toe)

  1. One should cut the nails as one normally does, not more.
  2. Little bits of hanging skin are not a hatzitzah.
  3. [Women always cut their nails for the mikvah. Men may go to the mikvah much more often than women. Therefore a man who normally cuts his nails less often need not specifically cut his nails for the mikvah if they are not at a length that he would normally cut them.]
  4. .[ One should clean the nails thoroughly.]


Preparing The Hands

  1. Warning! Don’t put  bleach (economica) or harsh chemicals on the fingers of your hands inpreparation for tevila. [Do not do this, it is dangerous.] Dirt which does not come off without bleach is not a hazitzah.
  2. Someone who normally washes the hands with bleach or harsh chemicals should do so for the mikvah also, [but the person should consider stopping it at other times also because it is dangerous].

Preparing The Feet

    1. Wash between the toes.
    2. Hard skin, if one would normally remove it or rub it with a pumice or foot file, do it also for the mikvah, but if normally one would not, one need not for the mikvah.

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Preparing The Body

  1. Wash the entire body well with soap (not oily) and warm water one time so that no dirt remains.
  2. Someone who normally uses a sponge or washcloth for bathing should do so for mikvah preparation also, but someone who does not use one normally need not do so for the mikvah.
  3. A woman should comb her underarm and pubic hair with her fingers, not a comb. [This is Rav Kehana’s (shlit”a) p’sak. Some require that the hair be combed with a comb. Other (Sephardic) poskim require that the hair be shaved off. Some hold that even after the fact, if she did not, she should shave the hair and immerse in the mikvah again. A woman who regularly shaves her underarm hair almost certainly should do so in preparation for the mikvah.]
  4. Wash the private parts on the outside, not on the inside.
  5. Clean the bellybutton thoroughly.
  6. After washing the entire body with soap, rinse thoroughly with lots of water in the shower.
  7. One need not examine whether or not one needs to use the toilet. Just if one feels the need, one should use the toilet.

Examining The Body

  1. After washing and showering, before immersing in the mikvah, one should look over the entire body to make sure that no dirt remains.
  2. Examine one’s face in the mirror.
  3. The front of the body should be examined visually.
  4. The parts that one can’t inspest visually, such as the back or the top of one’s head, should be checked with the hand.
  5. A woman then asks the mikvah lady to check her back and other hard to see places for any hatzitzah.
  6. This inspection shouldn’t take more than a minute or two!

    The Tevilla (Immersion)

  1. The custom is to dunk three times. [Ashkenazi] women are accustomed to dunk three times. First they dunk, then they make the berachah [for text of beracha see h. below], then they dunk again and say y’hi ratson milphanecha A-donoy E-loheinu v’E-lohei avoteinu sheyibaneh Beit HaMikdash bimheirah b’yameinu v’sham va`avadcha ci me`olam uch’shanim kadmoniot. And then she dunks one more time. [Sephardi women make the beracha before they enter the mikvah pool. Whether men make a berachah or not is another discussion entirely, but if they do, they should probably do like Sephardi women.]

  2. At the time when one dunks, the upper body should be bent forward slightly. The thighs  should be separated slightly, and the arms should be separated slightly from the body as when one walks.

  3. One need not lift the feet off of the mikvah bottom, one need not  pay attention at all to whether one touches the mikvah walls or not. This is not even a suspicion of a hatsitsah.
  4. If it is difficult to dunk without holding onto the rail, wet the hand(s) with mikvah water before dunking.
  5. During the immersion, one should close the eyes and lips normally (not overly tight).
  6. Don’t pay attention to the lips or eyes to worry if they are too tightly closed or not.
  7. Before making the beracha, the person [who is in the water like an Ashkenazi woman in a. above] should cover her hair, hold her hands together in front below the heart (to separate the upper and lower parts of the body) and then say the beracha, and she should not look down. [A Sephardi woman or a man, making the beracha outside of the mikvah should be covered with a robe, a chaluk, or at least a towel as well as covering the head or hair during the beracha.]
  8. The text of the beracha is Baruch atah A-donoy E-loheinu melech ha’olam asher kidishanu b’mitsvotav v’tsivanu al hatevila.
  9. The custom is that after a woman emerges from the mikvah, she should touch her friend or the mikvah lady [so that the first person that a woman touches after the Mikvah should be a fine woman rather than something or someone else].
  10. If immediately after emerging from the mikvah a woman feels that she needs to use the toilet, she need not dunk in the mikvah again.
  11. There are those who have a custom not to speak after tevila (except about matters pertaining to the immersion) until they have put on three of their garments, and nothing is better for the body than silence. And if she did speak, there is no problem and she should not immerse again.
  12. If a woman meets a cat or something similar after she comes out of the mikvah, she need not go back to immerse again, (since she saw the mikvah lady first.)
  13. When she returns home, she must tellher husband that she has immersed in the mikvah.
  14. After immersion, she should not wash the majority of her body in water [that day]. [A tevul yom – one who immersed in the mikvah that day, on whom a certain amount of water fell (i.e. shower) on that day, becomes a sheini letum’ah. The custom is for women to be careful about that when immersing for to be with their husbands, but it does not interfere with the tahara necessary to go to Har HaBayith (the Temple Mount).
  15. The biggest hiddur (beautification or amplification of the mitzvah) is don’t let doubts and questions enter her head, and she should immerse when she is happy and calm and she should return home in joy and happiness of heart.

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