A study conducted by a rabbi resulted in his chilling conclusion that while the ritual baths in Israel have been locked shut according to Health Ministry restrictions, this has not prevented spirits from the other world using the baths.
Though the sections of the bathhouses used for use by individuals are indeed closed, the sections for immersing vessels for domestic use remain open. These are generally outdoors and are closed off with a metal lid. Several credible witnesses reported strange after-hour noises at the shuttered bathhouses. Some even saw the special garments used to bury Jewish dead that had been left behind, indicating they barely missed meeting the spirit-owners who left in a hurry and were forced to leave their clothes behind. A few even seen the water disturbed as if some unseen body was moving through it.
Harei Haredim, a Hebrew-language ultra-Orthodox news service, reported last Wednesday that Rabbi Israel Dendrovich, head of the Be’er ha’Avot Yeshiva, was called in to investigate the phenomenon. Rabbi Denrovich concluded that the ghostly bathers were consistent with many reports in the Jewish tradition of similar incidents.
Perhaps the most recent was reported by Rabbi Śerayah Dablitsḳi, the author of over 60 books and noted rabbinical scholar, who passed away in 2018 in Bnei Brak. Rabbi Dablitski told of how he was in the ritual bath one Shabbat. The lights were off and he was forbidden from turning them on. The rabbi was unable to find the exit from the water in the dark and began to panic. Suddenly, a figure approached him in the dark, speaking to him before taking his hand to help him to exit the water. Rabbi Dablitski was convinced the visitor was a spectral aid sent to save him from drowning.
In addition to bringing many cases of spirits bathing in ritual baths, Rabbi Dendrovich suggested that some of the spectral bathers may be the recently dead who were denied the proper rituals due to coronavirus restrictions. One part of the preparation of the body for burial requires bathing the body in 40 seah of water, the minimum amount required for a mikveh (ritual bath) to be considered kosher. It should be noted that not only have coronavirus restrictions led to suspending the traditional mourning period but the rituals of burial and preparing the body have also been suspended in some cases.
In his investigation into the matter, Rabbi Dendrovich also reported on similar instances that are generally considered to have no basis in truth.