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Should a Woman Immerse in a Mikveh if Her Husband is Ill?

If the time came for a woman to immerse in a Mikveh, but her husband is ill and thus unable to engage in Tashmish (marital relations), should the woman go to the Mikveh? One might assume, at first glance, that since relations in any event cannot take place, the woman should not immerse in the Mikveh to become permissible for her husband.

However, Hacham Ovadia Yosef rules (listen to audio recording for precise citation) that the woman should immerse when the night of immersion arrives, even if her husband is ill. For one thing, he explains, before she immerses, all physical contact with her husband is forbidden (even just touching), which makes it more difficult for her to care for him during his illness. Once the wife immerses, she is allowed to hold her husband’s hand, give him medication, and offer other forms of assistance that are not permissible before she immerses. She should therefore immerse in the Mikveh even though they are unable to engage in Tashmish. Additionally, she should immerse so that the couple can resume marital relations as soon as the husband recovers from his illness. Hacham Ovadia Yosef emphasizes that the woman in this case immerses with a Beracha, as usual, despite her husband’s illness.

Summary: When the time for a woman’s immersion arrives, she should immerse – with a Beracha – even if her husband is ill and unable to engage in marital relations.


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