18 Tamuz 5779 / Sunday, July 21, 2019 | Torah Reading: mattot
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The Queen’s Wardrobe    

The Queen’s Wardrobe

A women’s beauty is a spiritual double-edged sword (much like driving a car) and Hashem put that power in the hands of the woman to wield it responsibly…


Modesty is a topic of great importance for the Jewish woman, and one that is so vital to a woman’s spiritual health. The Torah viewpoint on modesty is that women are extremely valuable, and something so valuable needs protection. Protection from what, you may ask? Protection from the harmful spiritual gaze of other men... Let me explain:


Women are more than just physical bodies. We are precious souls from G-d that are placed into physical bodies. The body’s purpose is to provide a vehicle for the soul (which is pure spirituality) to accomplish good things in this physical world.


So if the body’s purpose is only to be an “automobile” for the soul, then why did Hashem make women more physically beautiful than men? The simple answer is to increase the love between husband and wife. Marriage is such an important task for the soul to work on, and a wife’s beauty enhances the love in her marriage.


Inside the home when visitors are not around, we women can beautify and doll ourselves up as much as desired. It’s recommended that we do so, since it strengthens the marriage. However, outside the home, we cause more harm than good when dressing in attracting clothing and jewelry.


Why is that, you ask? That is because Hashem operates this world measure for measure. When a woman wears clothes, make-up, or eye-catching jewelry that attracts other men’s attention, it takes their attention away from their own wives.  Measure for measure, a woman’s own marriage starts to suffer, Heaven forbid.


A great way to have a loving, blissful marriage is to protect other people’s marriages by dressing modestly in public.  “That’s not fair,” you may be saying. “Why should I suffer because other men can’t control themselves? That is their problem, leave me alone and let me dress however I want.”


Well, driving a car while wearing a blindfold is also a personal choice, but it is easy to predict the devastating result.  Even if someone has an urge to drive blindfolded, they restrain themselves due to the negative outcomes.


Modesty is no different. A women’s beauty is a spiritual double-edged sword (much like driving a car) and Hashem put that power in the hands of the woman to wield it responsibly. When a woman uses her beauty for a positive purpose, she is rewarded with incredible blessings from Hashem. These blessings cover all areas, such as peace in the home, healthy and righteous children, ample livelihood, good health, long life, a wonderful place in the Next World, and closeness to Hashem. Not a bad deal!


But let’s be honest, modest dressing in public is a major test for woman today. In the surrounding secular culture, externals are so highly valued. The media encourages women to publicly show off their figures. Today’s Jewish men are tested with inappropriate websites and billboards, and today’s Jewish women are tested with the influence of secular fashions.


But herein lies the potential for greatness! Women today have an opportunity to succeed and  earn more reward than at any other time in history. If a woman disregards the pressure to display her beauty and instead improves her level of modesty, she can reach unfathomable greatness!


Here is a secret to how we women can achieve this: inner pride of having a G-dly soul. We have been given a priceless soul from Hashem to nurture and develop. Our external beauty is simply a tool to use to enhance our marriage, and that’s where its value ends. Our infinite value comes from the inside, our G-dly soul. When we work hard to improve character traits and deepen our connection to Hashem, suddenly the outside takes on less importance.


So what exactly is modest dressing, you may ask? Modest dressing in a nutshell is covering the skin and the shape of our bodies with loose clothing. Long sleeves, high necklines that cover the collarbones, and long skirts completely covering the knees are the basics of modest dressing. Notice that the Queen of England and her royal family also have this dress code. Want to feel like a queen? When a woman improves her modesty, she grows closer to Hashem and feels better about herself.


Also, the tightness of the clothing is critical. A tight or snug-fitting blouse or skirt doesn’t work because it still attracts men’s eyes.


For Jewish women that are married, covering the hair is also a requirement. A woman can cover her hair with scarves, snoods, modest hats, or the like. If it is her community’s custom, a woman can cover her hair with a wig, but it needs to meet the standards of modesty according to Jewish law. You can find out what those laws are in this excellent book: Sheitels: A Halachic Guide to Present-day Sheitels by Rabbi Falk. It is available online at zbermanbooks.com.


Another fantastic, inspiring book that covers all aspects of modesty is called Daughters of Dignity, by Rebetzen Friedman. You can find it online at eichlers.com or zbermanbooks.com.


We must remember that we do ourselves a tremendous favor when we increase our modesty. It’s an investment that brings inner happiness, a blissful marriage, and blessings to our children forever!

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