Yeshiva.org.il - The Torah World Gateway
Ask the rabbi Halacha General Questions

Human beauty, and also uglyness

Rabbi Yoel LiebermanTevet 27, 5772
355
Question
Hello Rabbi, I wondered if Judaism has anything to say on why some people are stunningly beautiful and yet others are basically physically ugly. Would a just, divine spirit really create such imbalance. It seems he has, so I wondered is there’s anything in the Jewish faith that gives any kind of answer to this puzzle. If the faith doesn’t even attempt to have an explanation for it, then that’s fine by me. - Just one of life’s eternal mysteries, and something that keeps us all guessing. Thank you
Answer
Although your question is simple and straightforward it touches upon deep philosophical issues of "Why G-d did such and such" which may be outside the realm of human thinking needless to say outside the realm of this question corner. Therefore, my course to answer your question will be on a simpler level of what we can learn from the phenomenon. It seems to me that Judaism wants to teach us that the exterior of a person is not the main thing. The main things are the inner virtues. King Solomon said in Proverbs 31:30 "Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain; a God-fearing woman is to be praised." The Talmud also tells us the following story of the daughter of the Roman Emperor sometime after the destruction of the Second Temple who approaches one of the Rabbinical scholars of the time who was not handsome looking. The daughter of the Roman Emperor addressed R. Joshua the son Hanania, " "what glorious wisdom in an ugly vessel’. He replied, ‘Does not your father keep wine in an earthenware vessel?’ She asked, ‘Where else shall he keep it?’ He said to her, ‘You are nobles who should keep it in vessels of gold and silver’. Thereupon she went and told this to her father and he had the wine put into vessels of gold and silver and it became sour. Upon hearing this answer, the emperor wanted to meet with R. Joshua and he asked" "But are there not good-looking people who are learned? To which R. Joshua replied : " If these very people were ugly they would be even more learned" The reason being that good looking scholars would find it difficult to be modest which would ultimately affect their studies. The moral of both these references is what our Rabbis said elsewhere "Do not look upon the vessel but at what it contains... (Ethics of the Fathers Chapter 4)
More on the topic of General Questions

It is not possible to send messages to the Rabbis through replies system.Click here to send your question to rabbi.

את המידע הדפסתי באמצעות אתר yeshiva.org.il