What does Jewish wisdom tell us about the pursuit of physical beauty? Daniel Dreifuss/Flash 90
Jewish World

Must I Be Beautiful?

We are often told that beauty is vain, but do we properly understand the meaning of that verse?


Part 7 in Jewish Wisdom for the Everyday Man: a “guide for the perplexed” through the modern maze of morality from ancient Jewish Sages.

Who doesn’t like to look at a beautiful girl? Physical beauty of both men and women has always been something to admire. It has even been proven that an attractive person is far more likely to get a job over a less attractive person with the same or even superior qualifications.

Am I beautiful?

Is physical attractiveness something to behold? To be enjoyed?

The Bible says yes, and even appreciates beauty. Sarah, Queen Esther, King David, Ruth and others are recognized as possessing physical beauty. In Judaism, even the beauty of an idol worshipper was to be appreciated.

The famous Rabban Gamliel, teacher of the Apostle Paul, told of seeing a Gentile woman who was an idol worshipper and commented on how beautiful she was. Contemplating (not gushing over) her loveliness, he goes on to say, “How beautiful is God’s creation.” Gamliel’s…