What is chafifa?
Chafifa is the term for the preparations that must be done before Tevilah, dunking in the mikvah. Chafifa is an integral part of the mitzvah.
What is the process for chafifa?
The following checklist serves as a guideline for chafifa:
I have done a thorough chafifah to complete my preparations:
- Soaked for proper amount of time
- Washed my hair with warm water and shampoo
- Combed the hair on my head or separated my hair with my fingers to ensure there are no knots
- Bathed my entire body – paying attention to elbows, knees, spaces between fingers and toes, and the back
- Cleaned my breast nipples and areola paying careful attention to creases especially if I am nursing, naval, washed genital areas (also internally)
- Soaked or removed scabs, and smoothed hard skin
- Cleaned my nose, ears, earring holes, eyes, eyebrows and lashes
- Cleaned my teeth with toothbrush, toothpick or floss
- Removed any body hair that is generally removed (ideally not on the day of immersion)
- Cut and filed my nails and removed nail polish
- Removed makeup, band-aids and patches, and checked for adhesive
- Removed all jewelry, glasses, lenses, false teeth, hearing aids
- Washed my hair again with water immediately prior to immersion
- Used the bathroom
- Checked my entire body
What prep materials are provided by the Lower Merion Community Mikvah?
The Lower Merion Community Mikvah provides all of the prep materials you need to do the chafifa. These include a robe, towel, slippers, bath mat, washcloth, comb, pumice stone and nail brush, nail clippers, q-tips, cotton balls, dental floss, contact lens case and solution, makeup remover, nail polish remover, toothpaste, emery board, acetone, toothbrush, tweezers, dixie cup, and mouthwash.
What is the process for Tevilah?
When you are finished chafifa, you will ring the attendant by pressing the chrome buzzer next to the door. The attendant will come to get you to escort you to the mikvah. During tevilah, the water is supposed to reach all parts of your body. Hands should be relaxed and open. Eyes and lips should be gently closed. Due to the holiness of the mikvah waters, the accepted practice is to not shower post tevilah at mikvah.
How does chafifa differ for Shabbos or Yom Tov?
All mikvah preparations should be done on Friday, prior to Shabbat or Yom Tov. You should finish bathing, combing hair, cutting nails, and be sure to remove all makeup and nail polish before Shabbat/ Yom Tov begins. The attendant will meet you at the mikvah one hour after candle lighting time. In the preparation room, please remember to remove all jewelry, contact lenses, false teeth, and glasses. After you do a thorough check of your body and mouth to ensure that there are no chatzitzot (barriers between yourself and the mikvah water), slide a placard under the door to alert the attendant that you are ready. For Second Day Yom Tov or Shabbat that follows Yom Tov, all mikvah preparations should be done on erev Yom Tov.
Tevilah on Shabbat or Yom Tov
There is no shower immediately before immersion on Friday night and Yom Tov. Instead, you should dunk one extra time before making the bracha.
During tevilah, the water is supposed to reach all parts of your body. Hands should be relaxed and open. Eyes and lips should be gently closed. Due to the holiness of the mikvah waters, the accepted practice is to not shower post tevilah at mikvah.
After Tevilah on Shabbat or Yom Tov
As wringing out one’s hair and towel are not allowed on Shabbat, please be careful when drying off after using the mikvah.
My desired appointment time was unavailable. Can I walk-in?
While we encourage making an appointment on our website or phone line, we do also accomodate walk-in appointments. However, you may have to wait in the waiting room as we cannot guarantee a room will be available.
Does the Mikvah have a lost and found?
Yes, the mikvah will hold onto items that are left in preparation rooms or in the kaylim mikvah for up to one month. After that all items are considered hefker and will be sold; the value of the items will be donated to the mikvah. To claim an item, ask the receptionist about your lost item during regular mikvah hours and she will return it to you upon description. For urgent items, email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a time to retrieve your item outside of regular mikvah hours.