Many go to mikve (perform ritual immersion) every morning. One reason for this is voluntary continuation of a cancelled decree, Tevilas Ezra, meant to limit conjugal relations by requiring immersion between relations and prayer.

Besides another reason for it, common daily immersion preserves modesty by preventing that day's mikve-goers from knowing who else had relations the previous night.*

If everyone was anyway immersing every day, how was the decree effective in limiting conjugal relations?

Are there any sources that explain the decree's effectiveness based on immersion having been a major ordeal in those times?

* However, women (who can be presumed to have relations on the night they immerse) do little to prevent meeting each other at the mikve, and I don't know of a custom for women to immerse every night.

  • 3
    how do you know that there was 'common daily immersion'? And what makes you think that people hid the fact that they went to the mikvah? The Gemara Shabbos 127b sort of implies otherwise (though I admit it isn't such solid evidence) Commented Aug 31, 2014 at 1:46
  • @ray If everyone goes every day even when it is cold, the weather wouldn't have an effect. And I know many that do to a cold mikve daily, even where a heated one is available. E.g. I the big synagogue in Kiryas Joel, NY, there are three mikve pools; hot, warm and cold. So the people wanting a cold mikve were numerous enough to justify a whole pool.
    – Adám
    Commented Mar 29, 2015 at 13:53
  • @YLOR most people dont go in the cold one. especially in the winter
    – ray
    Commented Mar 29, 2015 at 17:17
  • @ray So you are suggesting that Ezra instituted something that many would not be affected by at certain times of the year? I am sure he could have come up with something better!
    – Adám
    Commented Mar 29, 2015 at 18:49
  • @YLOR there are other problems too such as the dirtyness of the water, the hassle and wasted time, etc.
    – ray
    Commented Mar 29, 2015 at 19:36

2 Answers 2


I am not sure that I understand what you are asking exactly but let me share what I know on the subject.

In the times of Ezra is what not the widely accepted custom to go to Mikveh every day. We can discern this from the takanah. If it was no big deal the takana would have been meaningless. The Bal Shem Tov not only asked his followers to take on the defunct Minhag of Tevilas Ezra but instituted a custom of daily Mikve as well.

The spiritual benefits of Mikve are well known [section II]. In the words of the 19th-century Kabbalist R. Yitzchak Isaac Safrin (the Komarno Rebbe), frequent immersion in the mikvah, even daily, is essential for attaining spiritual insights, granting clarity of thought and sweetening the spiritual forces of judgment.

One of the Belzer Rebbes gave the reason for daily immersion is that just like one is instructed to "do tshuva one day before you die" since we never know when we will die we must always be in a state of tshuva, and just like erev Yom Kippur everyone goes to the mikve to attain an increased state of purity so to Chassidim go to the mikve daily. Chassidic P'Shat but the words of a Tzaddik none the less.

If everyone is going daily what bearing does it have on limiting conjugal relations ? You are not the first to ask and the classic Chassidic response is that the segulos of mikve as mentioned above will have a effect on a person so that he come to a spiritual level that he will not feel the urge to have frequent relations.

Hope this helps

Additional source on the source for daily mikve Ritual immersion for the cantor

  • Do you have a source for the Bal Shem Tov instituting daily mikva? AFAIK, he instituted Erev Shabbos and Shabbos morning.
    – Yishai
    Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 18:38
  • Sorry I didn't have time to research this however one could infer from the above comments of the Komarno and Belz Rebbes that they were commenting on a existing practice and not starting something new. Also by the universal acceptance of daily mikve going among chassidim one could infer that the custom was initiated while all chassidim still were under one Rebbe (no later than the Magid of Mezritch) and not by individual groups at a later time.
    – eramm
    Commented Feb 2, 2014 at 13:50
  • While there are additional benefits for going Ervev SHabbos and Shabbos morning I have never heard that it was the Baal Shem who initiated that practice. If anything the source for Erev Shabbos/Shabbos is from the Ari who says that one is only zocheh to keddushas Shabbos if you go to mikveh at those times.
    – eramm
    Commented Feb 2, 2014 at 13:52
  • If "The spiritual benefits of Mikve are well known" why did they wait for 3000+ years for it to become a daily practise? Just curious... Commented Sep 29, 2014 at 11:27
  • I think it was practiced before the times of the Baal Shem Tov but what the Baal Shem Tov added was making it not only a critical part of ones daily service but also encouraging even simple people to take on the practice.
    – eramm
    Commented Sep 29, 2014 at 12:26

There are two different immersions that are required. The first, which is before the relations, is to prevent relations as it is sometimes hard to find a mikveh. The one after the immersion is to prevent people from having relations and then going to learn Torah immediately afterwards. These are both discussed in the Talmud Yerushalmi Masechet Brachot Perek 3 Halacha 4.

(I'm not sure whether these are discussed in the Bavli, but I'll check with my copy of Imri BiMa'arava when I have a chance)

  • I do NOT see the Yerushalmi discussing immersion before relations. All I see is potential "adulters" ensuring [before the act] that they have a Mikveh for after their relations. Commented Sep 29, 2014 at 11:25

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