3 Kislev 5778 / Tuesday, November 21, 2017 | Torah Reading: Vayeitzei
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Beauty and Inner Peace    

Beauty and Inner Peace

A woman of valor doesn't need to paint her face to feel good about herself. She shines from within. In fact, she has a lot more inner peace than the painted ladies do...


Translated by Rabbi Lazer Brody

There's an important message I want to give our women readers: maybe you eat Kosher food, observe Shabbat and live a basically decent life. But there's such a scenario that you finish you're 120 years on earth and the Heavenly Court throws the book at you. You're accused of destroying dozens of marriages. You caused hundreds of children to grow up in tense and even broken homes. Do you know why? You deliberately flaunted yourself. You attracted other men. You literally forced them to look at you. Maybe the length of your clothes was satisfactory, but you deliberately chose tight and provocative clothes so that the men would turn their heads and look at you. The same goes for the makeup you chose. And even if you did cover your hair, did you choose a modest hair covering or the most enticing wig you can find? And then BOOM - as soon as a man looked at you, he desired you and harbored lust in his heart for you. After looking at you, he no longer had 100% love for his wife. You took part of that love away.
Now let's suppose that the Torah never commanded a woman to be modest. Anyone with basic intelligence and a sense of ethical fairness wouldn't do to another person what he would not want them to do to him. So let me ask you: are you willing to have your husband look at another woman? Of course, not! Then why do you make other men look at you? Is that fair to their wives? There are certainly more enticing women around than you are. Would you like if they pranced around your husband? No way - you'd be furious! So why do you do to other women what you'd hate them to do to you? Do you have such a negative image of yourself that you need people to make compliments about your face, your hair, or your body? Meanwhile, in fishing for those compliments, you'll be breaking up other people's marriages and stealing other women's husbands. Not only is that not fair, it's immoral.
So even if modesty were not in the Torah, to preserve social justice and a sane society, we'd have to invent laws of modesty! Society is so chaotic because it turns its back on the Torah's laws of modesty. It's amazing to see how heads of state will risk their entire career and future for one of the evil inclination's cheap thrills. Dearest women, don't play into the hands of the evil inclination. Remember who you are - a princess and a daughter of the King. By preserving the modesty of your appearance and speech, you'll assure that Hashem will always be with you.
Hashem runs the world measure-for-measure. If a woman is immodest and she makes other men look at her, she'll never have marital peace. That's the way Hashem does things. You can't make any woman's life miserable by taking away her husband's love for her and then expect Hashem to reward you with shalom bayit. It doesn't work that way. That's why personal holiness and modesty are absolute requirements for marital peace.
King Solomon describes the aishet chayil, the woman of valor, and says, "the lie of charm and the vanity of beauty." Then he says, "The G-d fearing woman shall be praised!" King Solomon, the wisest of all men that ever walked the face of the earth is telling us that beauty is a lie, and lies certainly have nothing to do with the fear of G-d. A woman who has true yir'at Shamayim, the awe and fear of G-d, doesn't care about beauty. Her focus is on doing Hashem's bidding and not on attracting anyone other than her husband. She cares about truth, not about beauty. She knows that Hashem created her beautiful just the way she is. She doesn't spend hours on picking out clothes, picking out wigs, standing in front of the mirror and making herself up. She doesn't need to paint herself with Cleopatra eyes to feel good about herself. In fact, she has a lot more inner peace. The women that are always prancing in front of mirrors never feel truly good about themselves, because they're always fidgeting and adjusting things.
The fortunate women who don't chase after all the makeup and the costuming save tons of time and money. Some woman take an hour to dress and put on makeup in the morning; you could be using that hour to to talk to Hashem or to do some charitable deed.
Modesty doesn't mean being a slouch - we all must maintain a clean and respectable appearance. But when a woman knows that Hashem created her beautiful just the way she is, she can truly feel inner peace. On the contrary, all those women who masquerade in make-up and fantasy are scared stiff for their husbands to see them when they wake up in the morning. What kind of inner peace is that?
Any emphasis on physical beauty is in King Solomon's words, the lie of charm and the vanity of beauty. You're beautiful just the way you are, the way Hashem created you. At any rate, a woman can't be conceited about something that she didn't do; Hashem made you beautiful, so why flaunt it. It's really stupid that a woman shows off her long blond hair; most of the time anyway, either the hair is dyed or it's a wig. So what are you proud of, that you spent a couple thousand dollars on a natural-hair wig? Or are you proud that you had a pint of hydrogen peroxide poured on your head? I know it doesn't sound nice, but it's true. I'm not trying to win a popularity contest; I just want you to be truly happy and have lasting marital peace. Sometimes we have to stop and take an objective look at ourselves to establish what the truth really is. The whole world of fashion and cosmetics lead people astray to this world of lies, and ridiculous lies at that.

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