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Are there any special rules to be aware of in order to do Tevilath Keilim in a creek or other natural body of water, as compared to a Mikvah?

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The creek needs to be a kosher mikvah. After that the rules are definitionaly the same! –  Double AA Apr 5 '12 at 23:21
    
@DoubleAA IIRC according to the Gra, a ma'ayan does not require 40 seah. (see Gra 201:6) –  Baal Shemot Tovot Apr 6 '12 at 2:03
    
@Vram I meant mikvah in the loose sense of the word, ie. anything that is kosher to dunk in. –  Double AA Apr 6 '12 at 5:05
    
@DoubleAA I think that's part of the question. –  Baal Shemot Tovot Apr 6 '12 at 5:19
    
@Vram Then why did he say "as compared to a mikvah"? I think he is asking if there are rules like "you must dunk twice" or "the water has to be clear" or something like that (neither of which is true IIRC). –  Double AA Apr 6 '12 at 5:31

2 Answers 2

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The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Chapter 162 (translation here) talks about ritual immersion in a river, and cautions that according to many Rabbis, if the river's water is from rainwater (and not a spring) it is not valid. See there for more details.

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There are 2 types of Mikvahs:

  • Mayim Chayim: which is a flowing spring. If the river's or creek's sources are mainly spring fed (and not rain water, or melted snow from mountains), then that would be a kosher mikvah.

  • Boros created by people filled with rainwater (not drawn). (Sorry I don't know the exact technical term- it may bor hashaka and bor zeriya). This type of mikvah cannot have any water leaking in or out of it from the ground (although water can flow in from the sky). I don't think anything like this could occur in nature (but I'm not sure).

As far as special rules for natural bodies of water (mayim chaim), our Rav mentioned that certain of the poskim he consults with have a concern about doing tevila in a natural body after a heavy rain. If your dunking in water which is majority of rain water, then your tevila will be posul.

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