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The Tabernacle Times
____________________________________________________________________________________________
_____ June 2013 __________________ Sivan - Tammuz 5773 ___________________ Volume 8 Issue 6_____

History of the Jewish Mikveh

By Dr. Ron Moseley

The Tabernacle's Annual Mikveh and BBQ
June 23rd • Indian Point Campground, Table Rock Lake
(Contact office for more information)

Rabbi & Brenda

Rabbi Jeremy & Brenda Storch

 

The term Mikveh in Hebrew literally means any gathering of waters, but is specifically used in Jewish law for the waters or bath for the ritual immersion. The building of the mikveh was so important in ancient times it was said to take precedence over the construction of a synagogue. Immersion was so important that it occurred before the high Priest conducted the service on the Day of Atonement, before the regular priests participated in the Temple service, before each person entered the Temple complex, before a scribe wrote the name of God, as well as several other occasions.

The Mishnah attributes to Ezra a decree that each male should immerse himself before praying or studying. There were several Jewish groups that observed ritual immersion every day to assure readiness for the coming of the Messiah. The Church Fathers mentioned one of these groups called Hemerobaptists which means "daily bathers" in Greek. Among those used to

regular immersion were the Essenes and others that the Talmud calls tovelei shaharit or "dawn bathers."

On the third day of creation we see the source of the word mikveh for the first time in Genesis 1:10 when the Lord says, "...to the gathering (mikveh) of waters, He called seas." Because of this reference in Genesis the ocean is still a legitimate mikveh.

The Mikvaot Around The Temple

The New Testament tells us that many of the early church's daily activities were centered around the Temple. Historically, we know that there were many ritual immersion baths (mikvaot) on the Temple Mount including one in the Chamber of Lepers situated in the northwest corner of the Court of Women (Mid. 2:5).

            (Continued on Page 2)

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