The word mikveh loosely means a collection of water and must be constructed in accordance with the numerous and complex specifications as outlined in Halachah, Jewish Law.
The Midrash relates that after being banished from Eden, Adam sat in a river that flowed from the garden. This was an integral part of his teshuvah (repentance) process, of his attempt at return to his original perfection.
Before the revelation at Sinai, all Jews were commanded to immerse themselves in preparation for coming face to face with G‑d. It is interesting to note that when Jews would move from one town to another, the first thing to be built was not the synagogue, but the mikveh. It is so central to Jewish life that a Torah scroll may be sold to pay for the building of a mikveh.
Today mikvehs are used for various things:
For the immersion of new pots, dishes, and utensils before they are used by a Jew;
It is the focal point of the taharah, the purification rite of a Jew before the person is laid to rest and the soul ascends on high;
Men use it on various occasions; the most widely practiced are immersion by a groom on his wedding day and by every man before Yom Kippur. Some have the custom of immersing on Shabbat, others daily before they pray;
It is the final step someone takes before converting;
But the most important function of a mikveh is for Family Purity, Taharas Hamishpocha. The laws of this mitzvah are a Divine ordinance, which means its source is much higher than we can fathom. And that is exactly what makes it so special. Knowingly or unknowingly, we connect to the Divine.
The following is a list of women’s mikvehs in Montreal: