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Aug 23, 2007

beautiful women

I was hesitant to put this in the Torah Thoughts blog, so here it is.

Parshat Ki Seitzei

In this weeks parsha we have the Torah allowing us in battle to take the "captive woman" as a wife. The Torah gives some of the technical details of how he has to make her spend a month looking decrepit, such as letting her nails grow, shaving her head, crying over her family in the entrance of the house, etc.

Rashi says She should look ugly with all this crying so that he will look at her and compare her to the Jewish girl and see how the Jewish women make themselves beautiful and "made up" and this man will then likely abandon the captive woman and marry a Jewish woman.

We see from this Rashi that Jewish women are supposed to beautify themselves so Jewish men will be attracted to them and not be swayed by foreign beauty.

In many frum communities, we have developed the style that girls/women should not dress attractively. They think that by doing so it is not tzniusdig and is therefore inappropriate. So they dress bland and frumpy and shlubby.

Yet the Torah here tells us that Jewish women are meant to be beautiful and to appear beautiful. By doing so, they keep the Jewish men attracted to them rather than to others.

19 comments:

  1. One of the many things I absolutely love about my wife is her steadfast refusal to combine tzniut with frumpiness.

    She manages to look lovely, all the time, and still be modest, and I love her for it. And what's even better is that I don't think it's anything conscious on her part. It's just who she is.

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  2. is "frumpy" a real word?

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  3. I thought it was more of yiddishism, but it seems like it is a real word

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  4. Rafi,
    i don't know why you have to bring a diyuk from a rashi in the parsha that a woman should should not be frumpy or shlubby (that word is not in the dictionary).
    there are numerous gemarot and halachot that make ut quite clear that a woman should make herself up to be beautiful and attractive to her husband (Taanit 23b - נפקא דביתהו דמר כי מיקשטא אמר להו כדי שלא אתן עיני באשה אחרת for example)
    as well as halachot that even a single girl of marijable age should take care of her looks. i think that it is self evident that tzniyut is not at all incompatible with beuty - but unfortunately, as you said "In many frum communities..." it is not so.

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  5. I made the diyuk in Rashi because the thought struck me as I was reading the Rashi while reviewing this weeks parsha.

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  6. I've always opposed "shabbos robes" and spending shabbos in pajamas. And while there are just sleepless nights and long shabbasim with rowdy children that require some laxity, my wife respects how important it is, and tries to dress up for every shabbos when she can, even if it is just us at home. Its not only for the husbands, but i think for kovod shabbos and kovod hatorah as well, (but im not complaining :-))

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  7. Thanks for writing this, important point.

    I will concur with other commenters, however, and say that this is seen elsewhere as well. An example would be in כתובות, where the gemara discusses a vow, קונם שלא אתקשט בּבגדי צבעונים.

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  8. I think another interesting point is, the torah is saying that the man is allowed to look and compare the women, with a purpose for marriage, but nonetheless, he can still "check 'em out".

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  9. or maybe the Torah is not saying you can check em out, but dealing with the reality that we do check 'em out...

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  10. NO - , the torah is telling you to compare this against others - that means that you are to look.

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  11. no, the torah is saying that if you find a non-jew, please check out Jewish women to see if you can't find one better

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  12. anon- exactly - check out the jewish women, that's my point. nowadays, we'd tell him to close his eyes. my point wasn't about yefas to'ar, it was about the torah telling you to look at women to compare the jewish to the one you want to take.

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  13. whatsiname,

    i don't know where you live, but where i live the shabbos robes are fancier than anything my wife has in her closet

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  14. shaya g.:

    of course you are allowed to check them out. what do you think you are really supposed to be doing on yom kippur afternoon?

    see taanit 4:8 or http://agmk.blogspot.com/2006/08/tu-be-av-primer-or-jewish-valentines.html

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  15. I still think it is not telling us to check them out or not to. I think it is telling us the reality is that men check them out, so they should be pretty and attractive so we have no reason to look elsewhere....

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  16. let me rephrase, I am not saying the torah is advocating walking around and "shelo l'tachlis" stare at women. What it is saying is that, like rafi's point, look in house rather than outside the tribe. A by-product of that is that it is obviously mutar to check out the jewish women for physical attraction as well. This is knegged alot of people today who say "not tznius". The torah isn't telling you to blanketly check em out. but within the giudelines here the torah is saying, what we say is not right, actually is allowed.

    hope this clarifies my thought, if not, add it to the list of muddled ideas I have.....

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  17. shaya g has said...
    let me rephrase, I am not saying the torah is advocating walking around and "shelo l'tachlis" stare at women. What it is saying is that, like rafi's point, look in house rather than outside the tribe. A by-product of that is that it is obviously mutar to check out the jewish women for physical attraction as well. This is knegged alot of people today who say "not tznius". The torah isn't telling you to blanketly check em out. but within the giudelines here the torah is saying, what we say is not right, actually is allowed.


    I agree with all the commentators including Shaya but the thing it the shidduch market is soooo superficial out there. I doubt it that anyone is looking for good middot, I mean the shadchanim ask girls for their chest measurements. How low can you go?
    Are they looking for a cow to milk or a potential wife?

    http://www.shmuley.com/articles.php?id=250

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