Reasons for Mikvah
In Waters of Eden: The Mystery of the Mikvah, Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan points out that a mikvah represents a womb, the place from which every human is born, a place where one is surrounded by the waters of life. He explains that the mikvah also hearkens back to the Garden of Eden, the birthplace of the human race and the place of the first wedding, the marriage of Adam and Eve.
According to the biblical account, the Garden of Eden was a place in which humanity dwelled before the concept of death had come to the world, a time when the divine was more accessible and palpable. After Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, the Midrash says they wanted to find some connection back to their primordial state of spiritual perfection. They could not go back to the garden, but they saw one of the rivers that came from Eden as it flowed past them and realized that immersing themselves in this river could reconnect them, to their past in Eden.
This event, writes Rabbi Kaplan, is part of the mystery of the mikvah. That all waters in their natural state are “connected” to the Garden of Eden, our birthplace as humans and a source of rebirth for us as individuals. Since marriage is the movement from one life to a completely new one, it is additionally appropriate to go to the mikvah in preparation for this enormous transformation.
Many women who might not be planning to observe the mitzvah of going to the mikvah each month do choose to go before their wedding, and some traditional rabbis will require it. In fact, grooms should also go to the mikvah in preparation for their wedding because a wedding for the couple is a day of great rebirth and transformation for them both, from being one person to becoming a completely new entity of two people together, a true rebirth.