Failing Mikvah

Last time I went to the mikvah, I’m pretty sure I failed. Okay, maybe I got a D. Just barely passed.

Just like an exam, I prepared carefully. I removed my nail polish and bathed and combed my hair and checked to make sure there were no stray hairs.

But as soon as the mikvah lady opened the door, things started to go down hill. For one, the slippers that the mikvah provides wouldn’t easily slip on to my feet. I had to wiggle, as if dancing, until finally I just bent down to put them on.

Then, when I got in to the mikvah, I said the bracha. I forgot that my custom is to dunk once and THEN say the bracha. Okay, just roll with it. I did my first dunk.

“Um, I think your hands were closed. Try it again” the mikvah lady instructed.

I tried again. Kosher.

Now for dunk two.

“You touched the wall.”

No shit I touched the wall. I was so paranoid to spread my hands and make sure that you could see that they were fully opened while I was underwater. Fine, I’ll do it again. Kosher.

By this time, I was so anxious about having screwed up twice already that I think I just wanted the whole thing to be over. I leaned back, and apparently went so far back that my head hit the side of the mikvah. OUCH. The mikvah lady didn’t even have to tell me to re-do. I knew.

Finally, I believe out of pity, she told me that my last try–the SIXTH of that night–was kosher. I’m not convinced there wasn’t any hand clenching involved, but if she said it was kosher, I’ll go with that. Frankly, I think we were both a little relieved I was done.

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