Thursday, October 19, 2006

Mikvah Hygiene

On Erev Rosh Hashanah and Erev Yom Kipper, there is a minhag that men immerse themselves in a mikvah. Common sense, as well as mikvah regulations require one to shower before using the mikvah. My personal custom, based on hygienic concerns is to shower following the immersion as well. This past Erev Yom Kippur, someone (who apparently was keeping tabs on me) commented to me that there is "an inyan" not to wash off the holy mikvah waters. I resisted the urge to say any of the many things that came to mind (it was Erev Yom Kippur after all) and thanked him for informing me of this.

Last night, I was reading a compilation of psakim and hadrachos of Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach and came across the following:

Rav Shlomo Zalman would shower both before and after using the mikvah. When he was questioned as to why he wasn't concerned with the inyan of keeping the mikvah waters on, he responded "I shower before the mikvah out of concerns of viahavta l'raiacha kamocha. I shower after the mikvah because of those who are not concerned with viahavta l'raiacha kamocha".