Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90
A Goyeshe Mikva

Here’s a Greek Orthodox pilgrim dipping in the Jordan River, as part of a traditional Epiphany baptism ceremony at the site of Qasr el Yahud (Castle of the Jews), outside Jericho. Christians believe this is where Jesus was baptized. It is also supposed to be the spot where the tribes of Israel crossed over the Jordan to begin their conquest of the land, and where Elijah the Prophet ascended to heaven.

That’s a lot of stuff happening in one place.

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There are ruins of Byzantine and Crusader churches, which suggest those traditions are pretty old.

I’ll tell you one thing, if Jesus did dip there—assuming such a person ever existed—he didn’t do it all dressed up like these folks. Jewish law says there must be no separation-chatzitza between one’s flesh and the cleansing water. We take off jewelry, nail polish, even a stray hair.

I’ll never understand goyim.

Photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90
Photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90
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13 COMMENTS

  1. Yori, I think that there is some tongue and cheek in your writing, but I nevertheless will respond sort of straight. Baptism is practiced by Christians because Christ commanded it and as an identification with him. We die with him and come up out of the waters to live a new life as he died for us and was raised to new life by the Holy Spirit. Many Christians practice this after a conversion experience and a resolve to follow Jesus and his ways. Some Christians are baptized as infants and the resolve must wait until later days. This is much like Jews bing circumsized at 8 days with the days ahead for the learning and the resolve and the commitment to give themselves to the mitzvot and full observance. But I think you know this. What may be new, is this. In Aramaic Christianity, full immersion in the water is practiced even for infants, and without cloths for women, the waters touching all parts of the body. This is accomplished by a women "deaconess" assisting the woman to be baptized, while the priest sticks his arm through the whole in the wall of the place for baptism and places his hand on the woman's head as she is about to be assisted to go under the waters. He never sees the women. This is to preserve modesty. In the New Testament, baptism is called, "the circumcision without hands".

  2. Rambam Hilchos Mikvaos – 1:7
    All those who immerse should immerse their entire bodies while naked at one time. If the person has hair, all of his hair must be immersed; it is considered as part of his body according to Scriptural Law.

    Whenever impure individuals immersed while wearing clothes, the immersion is acceptable, because the water passes through the clothes and they do not intervene. Similarly, if a nidah immerses in her clothes, she is permitted to resume relations with her husband.

  3. What impressed me greatly during a visit with Americans for a Safe Israel was that the country of Jordan was perhaps 50 feet away across the river, with soldiers standing by there, and it was peaceful. Perhaps a taste of what could be on more of Israel's borders if Israel can maintain its strength.

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