Mikveh and conversion

February 18, 2013

I don’t pretend to know the ins and outs or history of the mikveh in Judaism, nor to know the history of rituals attendant on conversion to Judaism, but the idea that John the Baptist was doing something so new and radical — well, I would like to know more about his context before I accept that as true.  I’m open to the idea of cross-pollination, even from Christianity back to Judaism, but I thought ritual immersions went back pretty far in religious history.

Maybe I should add that we had Jonas’ ritual immersion for his conversion in a pond — rabbi, cantor, and all.  The folks who control the local mikveh wouldn’t allow us to use it for him.  My younger son’s first mother is Jewish, so Judaism required nothing there.  (Where we skipped out on our synagogue affiliation was when they treated the children differently.  For example, they wouldn’t let Jonas up on the bimah for a ceremony they wanted to have for Jordan, I think it was for him to receive his Hebrew name, and there had been no such ceremony before the congregation for Jonas for receiving his.  The children ended up in the Brandeis Jewish Education Program instead.)


One Response to “Mikveh and conversion”

  1. Judah Himmelstein Says:

    Although several reasons have been given in Talmudic and Midrashic sources for the Jewish exile, the one to consider here is “to acquire converts to Judaism”.

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