Originally Posted by Kelilah
Thank you so much, all of you, really. That was so helpful and enlightening!
I had no idea that a non-Jewish husband affected the issue. That's very interesting. I also didn't know there was so much flexibility; I figured that I *had* to do the full 12 days or I was, I don't know, polluting the mikvah or something. The trick with our situation is that my husband travels a lot for work, and we spend a lot of time apart already, so when we're together it's really precious and we can't do without it. We don't get too intimate anyway when I'm bleeding though, so if I could just immerse when I stop bleeding that would be a great step.
I think it would help me emotionally as well since any period I have now in my post-miscarriage life is going to feel like a painful failure and I'll need to be renewed. So yeah. I'm very interested. We're traveling back home now and I'll look up the local Chabad when I get there. Thanks again!
Another question: Covering hair. Who does it? What do you get out of it? Any non-Orthodox wives who do it, and to what extent?
Jewish women cover their hair when they are married. There is no halachic reason to cover before then.
If a Jewish woman becomes divorced, they should check with their rabbi (again, I recommend Chabad House) to determine the halacha about how they should hold according to their specific situation and why.
If you would like to contact my rebbitzin, her name is Hinda Langer and she is married to Rabbi Yosef Langer of S. Francisco. They run a CHABAD center there.
Again, if you are married to a non-jew, the status of hair covering may be affected. You will want to take this up with your local rabbi.
Kelilah, you are NOT polluting the mikvah by going before the min 5 days allotted for bleedign and the 7 days of no bleeding that follow. A woman may go to the mikvah for a variety of reasons at various times in her cycle, though she is commonly discouraged from going when she is bleeding for obvious reasons, both sanitary and halachic. But for you, you are not required to go at all. It is NOT a MITZVAH for a jewish woman married to a non-jewish man. Mitzvah meaning "commandment". So you will want to think about what you would like to do and then consult your local rabbi about how to do this in accordance with halacha.
For example, saying the prayer for immersion would be incorrect, and even, according to some, a blasphemy. So you may wish to avoid that. But that doesn't mean you can't compose your own prayer, on your own or with the help of your rabbi/rebbitzin that you can say upon immersion.
I do cover my hair. I also wear pants. I do not wear shirts to my elbow in the summer...I wear typical short sleeve shirts and dont' give it much of a second thought. I wouldn't show my shoulders, for example.
I do not dress in proacative ways, basically. I dress modestly and carry myself as a woman who is not interested in having an affair on my husband (which, obviously, I'm not). I find that this basically covers what is "right behavior" in my book and by my (and people much more learned that myself) interpretation of the halacha. I've found that a woman can be wearing a skirt past her knees and a shirt past her elbows, but if she is carrying herself in a flirtatious way or in a way where she obviously is looking for masculine attention, well then, it all kind of defeats the purpose. /shrug. And I've seen this a LOT!
As far as hair covering, I do not cover when I sleep. Nor do I cover at home, unless my home becomes a "public place" and this specifically means men coming over. People hold differently and some are more machmir, but this is the halacha. There are many books written about the subject and I highly recommend checking out one or more of them to get an understanding about the subject. Just so you know, I also feel that NOT covering is a totally valid ruling (which many prominent rabbis have made) interpretation of the law, as well. Though this is not how I have chosen to hold at this time. One of the reasons for that is that I feel I DO get so much out of covering my hair. It's a daily reminder of the dignity and responsibility I have as a Jewish woman to myself, my husband, my family and HaShem. But that is personal and may or may not feel the same for you. That's fine too.