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Is the purpose of a woman's going to the mikvah so that she can permit herself to a man (be he her husband or any potential husband), or is it for her own sake? The nafqa mina is that of a woman who will never marry a man. Women who fall into this category today might include those who are in long-term lesbian relationships, but for a more classical example you can consider the woman who is twice (or thrice) widowed, according to Rebbi and Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel, in Yevamot 64b. Can such women avoid going to the mikvah, or is it still a requirement?

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This may speak more to my ignorance than any deficiency in the question, but can you add the specifics of any other reason that a woman might have to go to the mikveh besides the marital one? –  yitznewton May 5 '13 at 1:54
    
@yitznewton Tuma == bad. Alternatively, perhaps there is a mitzva of tevillah, or a prohibition of remaining impure unnecessarily. –  Double AA May 5 '13 at 2:10
    
Why the downvote? –  Double AA May 5 '13 at 4:13
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@CharlesKoppelman It could by contact, but that's generally not an issue people care about. In other words, they have no more concern than any other women who is certainly not married. –  Double AA May 7 '13 at 17:44
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up vote 9 down vote accepted

Rabbi Isaac ben Sheshet was asked (Responsum 425) why no rabbinic edict requiring unmarried women to regularly purify themselves in the Mivka was ever enacted in order to minimize the transgressions of those who engage in extra-marital sexual contact. (I note the whole basis of the question is that in the days when women regularly or even semi-regularly were involved in handling sanctified food, such a purification was clearly performed. Nowadays that is not an issue (with the possible exception of women who would visit the outer parts of the Temple Mount).) He responds that no enactment was made because removing the biblical Karet-bearing prohibition of Niddah would allow people to grant themselves leniencies in this matter. The implication is that the longstanding custom was for women to not visit the Mikva outside the context of a "kosher" sexual relationship. Such is I believe the accepted practice today as well.

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Thank you, Double AA. It's a bit early for me to use that as a basis for post-SA halakha, but that at least shows me that the Rivash held this way, and that there's apparently nothing in the literature that precedes him to lead one to a different conclusion. In the event that somebody else can give me a fuller answer, I may end up accepting theirs instead, but this has answered my question for now. Thank you. –  Shimon bM May 7 '13 at 22:54
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For people who are interested, the relevant part of the responsum above is on the following page, and commences with ומה שנפלאת איך לא תקנו טבילה לפנויה. –  Shimon bM May 7 '13 at 23:09
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there is a custom among even single umarried men to go to the mikva every friday before shabbat.

I have heard people say they cannot feel the holiness of shabbat without going to the mikve.

I once read that Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky was asked if it is bitul torah (Wasted time) if a bachelor yeshiva student goes to the mikva frequently. he responded that on the contrary this is a good thing.

my point is tahara helps a person in his religious service. if this were not the case, yeshiva bachurim would not be encouraged to take time out from their learning. tahara helps a person connect to the spiritual (see shaarei kedusha gate 4)

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What does this have to do with the question? –  Michoel May 4 '13 at 23:57
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@Michoel Perhaps unmarried women also can't feel the holiness of Shabbat without going to the mikva –  Double AA May 5 '13 at 1:36
    
Are you saying women should go to the mikva often just because being pure is better? If so, perhaps you should state that explicitly, as that is an answer to the question that was asked (while this is not yet). –  Double AA May 7 '13 at 17:40
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@DoubleAA I think it's going in that direction. –  Seth J May 7 '13 at 20:18
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It is wrong for unmarried women to go to mikva. I cant provide the source at the moment but will look for it. Since it makes them more 'eligible' for znus. Here פנויות לטהרתן, ומורים ליחידים ולעתים אף לרבים לילך ולטבול ומתירים את האיסור בק"ן טעמים", כתב הרב מצגר לרבנים. "אשר על כן בא אני בזאת לחזק ולבצר פסקם של ראשונים ואחרונים ולהודיע בשער בת רבים כי איסור גמור הוא לאישה פנויה, לטבול לטהרתה, וחובה למונעה ואסור לסייע בידה. והפורץ גדר ישכנו נחש". בעבר פרסמה הרבנות הראשית קריאות בנושא, וכמו כן פורסם מכתב של הרב עובדיה יוסף. קריאתו של הרב הראשי באה בעקבות שאלה שנשאל על רב שלכאורה התיר טבילת פנויה וכן בעקבות נוהג שהשתרש לאחרונה בקרב רווקות, בעקבות אמונה תפלה, ולפיו אם יטבלו במקווה וינהגו כמנהגן של נשים נשואות - יזורז זיווגן.

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protected by Isaac Moses May 8 '13 at 1:57

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