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Even the Torah only values beautiful women
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FranticFrummie




 
 
 


Post  Sat, Dec 14 2019, 7:04 pm
OP, I don't have answers. For me, midrashim tend to come across as apologetics a lot of the time. I figure it's my failure in understanding the deeper meaning, so I try not to let it bog me down.

I want to validate the pain I hear in your post. Society certainly doesn't value unattractive women, and then when you hear the Torah mention physical beauty, that can just rub salt into the wound.

Your appearance has a lot to do with how you navigate the world. If you don't feel attractive, or if you are not attractive by Western beauty standards, you tend to be invisible in society. If you are too attractive, you attract all kinds of obnoxious horndogs. When you are dating, you wonder if the boy is attracted to all of you, or just your looks.

It's nice to be noticed, but not too much. Getting flirted with a tiny bit can boost your self esteem, but too much makes you want to run and hide. Too little, and you feel like you're chopped liver.

The only thing that is going to help, is for YOU to do what makes you happy when you look in the mirror. Dye your hair, buy some blush, get a pretty scarf, or go to the gym. Do it for you, not for DH, and not for some random people on the street. Learn to value yourself for who you are, and I promise you you'll feel 100% better.

If you get the chance, read "The Beauty Myth" by Naomi Wolfe. She gets a few things wrong about Orthodox Judaism, but when discussing society as a whole she is spot on. She especially focuses on how Madison Avenue advertising counts on keeping women insecure and disempowered. Once you recognise the game, you can opt out of the rat race and be yourself.
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etky




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Dec 15 2019, 12:47 am
OP, I hear you and totally get you about a woman's worth being dependent on her beauty in today's looks-obsessed world. Althought they have nothing to do with a woman's inherent value as a person, looks are an asset to a woman and aging diminishes their value. There's no getting around it but just know that your feelings are totally understandable and legitimate. It's a struggle for many and there's no pat answer.

In the ancient world physical attractiveness was important too, also because it was sometimes interpreted as linked to a woman's fertility. I think though that aging (for men too) was easier back then for many reasons that are not really related to this thread.

Anyway, I don't think that the Torah shares this view of women. I think that while it certainly does acknowledge the impact of female beauty on human relationships and the pivotal role looks can play in a woman's life (also to their detriment as in the stories of Bat Sheva and Tamar) - especially in the ancient world where women had much less agency than modern women do and if they stood out it was often because of their beauty- it does not lionize beauty or judge women as inherently worthy or not on the basis of their attractiveness.
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amother




Lime


Post  Sun, Dec 15 2019, 11:47 am
ShishKabob wrote:
I know a lot about Sarah Imeinu from the Torah.
She morally supported her dh when he moved from place to place.
She helped her dh with teaching the women about Hashem.
She was very vocal with wanting Hagar and Yishmael out of their house.
She was very tznius and stayed in her tent.
She was zoche to have the ananei hakavod, fresh challis and candles burning the entire week. We learn from her the three mitzvos that a woman is obligated with.
She helped her dh with the mitzvah of hachnosas orchim.
She laughed when she was told that she'll have a child.
She got her period at age 90 and gave birth naturally.
She nursed her baby till 2 years old. and lots and lots of additional very informative information.



I suppose that's the way we were all raised and trained to look at it. The avos and imahos were saintly and godly people who we should try to emulate everything they did.

The problem I have (and I realize that nobody else does because they were taught otherwise since a very young age) is that the words in the torah don't really portray the ancestors as extraordinary special people. First of all half the things you mention are simply not mentioned in the pesukim. (I know, I know, the medrash adds things, but we all know many medrashim aren't meant literally) You say Sarah morally supported avrohom when she moved from place to place....The posuk says "Vayikach Avrohom es Sarah", Avrohom "took" Sarah. We know sarah told Avrohom to have a child with her servant. When Avrohom took her advice, sarah resented him and told him that hashem will deal with you about this.
We know Sarh laughed at the idea she'd have children, and then covered it up to Avrohom by lying and saying she didn't laugh.....Rivka helped trick Yitchak into giving Yackov the Brochos, Rachel tricked Yackov and gave the simanim to Leah, One of Yackovs wives sold having relations with him for some fruit. (I forget whether it was Rachel or Leah.) The shevatim tried to murder their orphaned brother...Yehudah hired a harlot.

I just feel that the facts are so completely spinned when learning about them as children that by the time we reach adulthood we accept it 100% even though at face value it's utterly ridiculous.
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malki2




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Dec 15 2019, 11:58 am
amother [ Lime ] wrote:
I suppose that's the way we were all raised and trained to look at it. The avos and imahos were saintly and godly people who we should try to emulate everything they did.

The problem I have (and I realize that nobody else does because they were taught otherwise since a very young age) is that the words in the torah don't really portray the ancestors as extraordinary special people. First of all half the things you mention are simply not mentioned in the pesukim. (I know, I know, the medrash adds things, but we all know many medrashim aren't meant literally) You say Sarah morally supported avrohom when she moved from place to place....The posuk says "Vayikach Avrohom es Sarah", Avrohom "took" Sarah. We know sarah told Avrohom to have a child with her servant. When Avrohom took her advice, sarah resented him and told him that hashem will deal with you about this.
We know Sarh laughed at the idea she'd have children, and then covered it up to Avrohom by lying and saying she didn't laugh.....Rivka helped trick Yitchak into giving Yackov the Brochos, Rachel tricked Yackov and gave the simanim to Leah, One of Yackovs wives sold having relations with him for some fruit. (I forget whether it was Rachel or Leah.) The shevatim tried to murder their orphaned brother...Yehudah hired a harlot.

I just feel that the facts are so completely spinned when learning about them as children that by the time we reach adulthood we accept it 100% even though at face value it's utterly ridiculous.


With all due respect, you are interpreting the words of the Tanach at face value in the same way that the Xtians do. The Jews were given the Torah Shebe’al Peh to be used as a guide in understanding the Torah Shebichtav. All your points are valid ones, but are all dealt with in the Torah Shebe’al Peh I.e. the meforshim and the Gemara. If you don’t use those, then you will make the same mistakes that the Xtians make.
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amother




Lime


Post  Sun, Dec 15 2019, 12:17 pm
malki2 wrote:
With all due respect, you are interpreting the words of the Tanach at face value in the same way that the Xtians do. The Jews were given the Torah Shebe’al Peh to be used as a guide in understanding the Torah Shebichtav. All your points are valid ones, but are all dealt with in the Torah Shebe’al Peh I.e. the meforshim and the Gemara. If you don’t use those, then you will make the same mistakes that the Xtians make.


I hear you. It's always been a strange phenomena to me. For example the Torah says the that yackov loved yoseph the most. (Already full stop: what??? Imagine a parent loving one child more than the next these days. Endless therapy. Anyway, because of their fathers favoratism and his dreams, the posuk says the brothers were jealous of him and wanted to kill him.
The Torah is our guidebook and this is the story. Many mefarshim aren't real and often contradict each other. What is a rational thinking person supposed to believe happened if not what the Torah says actually happened?
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malki2




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Dec 15 2019, 1:10 pm
amother [ Lime ] wrote:
I hear you. It's always been a strange phenomena to me. For example the Torah says the that yackov loved yoseph the most. (Already full stop: what??? Imagine a parent loving one child more than the next these days. Endless therapy. Anyway, because of their fathers favoratism and his dreams, the posuk says the brothers were jealous of him and wanted to kill him.
The Torah is our guidebook and this is the story. Many mefarshim aren't real and often contradict each other. What is a rational thinking person supposed to believe happened if not what the Torah says actually happened?
[quote]

Well, everything that the Torah says happened, happened, but you have to understand how to interpret it, and in what context to interpret it. For example, in last week’s parsha, Yaakov tells Lavan, give me my wife so that I can come onto her (physically). If you just read the text, you will understand one thing. If you read Rashi, who is transmitting the Torah Shebe’al Peh, you will understand in the context of Yaakov’s absolute holiness, as he was so holy and removed from the physicality that he was speaking solely in terms of establishing the Jewish nation.
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Ruchel




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Dec 15 2019, 2:15 pm
Men don't like what media says they like. I had more attention 20 kilos ago. No, I can't explain
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amother




Lime


Post  Sun, Dec 15 2019, 2:26 pm
[quote="malki2"]
Quote:


Well, everything that the Torah says happened, happened, but you have to understand how to interpret it, and in what context to interpret it. For example, in last week’s parsha, Yaakov tells Lavan, give me my wife so that I can come onto her (physically). If you just read the text, you will understand one thing. If you read Rashi, who is transmitting the Torah Shebe’al Peh, you will understand in the context of Yaakov’s absolute holiness, as he was so holy and removed from the physicality that he was speaking solely in terms of establishing the Jewish nation.


So tbh I have a hard time believing this 100%. The reason is because it makes no sense.
I can understand why with halacha the Torah wrote a general rule and we need Torah she baal peh to explain. For example the Torah says to have kibud av v'aim. There are dozens of halachos and applications of this rule. I can understand why the written Torah didn't include all the specifics and details.
This is not so with the stories in sefer beraishes. Often times it's the addition of a single word or posuk that would have clarified everything. For example the posuk says the brothers hated yoseph, were jealous of him, and plotted to kill him. The Torah could have easily included a few more words to explain the brothers position, That yoseph was chayav misah. Or Sarah lying to avrohom that she didn't laugh. The Torah could have included a few more words to explain why Sarah laughed. The way the words are written now, it makes Sarah look like a she lied, as well as leading to endless confusion many generations later as to what really happened.
It's the same idea with your posuk. Yackov asks lavan to give him rochel so he can have relations with her. Rashi explains it doesn't mean what it says. But why couldn't the Torah just write what it meant? It would be as simple as including an extra few words.
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zaq




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Dec 15 2019, 2:33 pm
Hmmm...OP...I’m sorry you drank the beauty kool-aid in your youth, but whose fault is that? Surely not the Torah’s. Maybe your friends, teachers, parents and shadchanim? Maybe you read too many beauty-centric magazines? The women’s-magazine industry in particular and the advertising industry in general both have a lot of unhappiness to answer for.

Evidently my upbringing was quite different
from yours. My family was spectacularly nondescript looks-wise. Maybe even less than nondescript. My mother’s sole artificial enhancement was lipstick. I never believed that my looks would be my fortune. I was brought up to value cleanliness, tidiness, hard work, and brains. Your hair has to be combed, shirt ironed and shoes polished because you have to look respectable, but beauty isn’t a value. Your value as a person is in your contribution to society, and that contribution can take many forms.

Consequently, though I am probably old enough to be your mother and it’s quite a few years that the mirror has been showing me grey hair, frown lines, sun-damaged skin, and all the other signs of aging, I don’t feel useless at all. Sure I mourn the loss of such looks as I had—except “mourn“ is the wrong word. I’m just annoyed. I was gypped; my oil-soaked skin was supposed to stay line-free and youthful into my eighties. It didn’t. So I tsk in irritation at the mirror in the morning and then avoid mirrors as I go about my business the rest of the day.

If you placed your looks at the top of the list of your personal assets, and now you feel you have lost them, I can understand your distress. You’re like that girl with the perfect complexion for whom a tiny zit was a catastrophe.

I feel bad for you, but I’m not going to give you beauty advice. If you want that, there are plenty of places to get that. But my advice to you would be to shift gears. Abandon your belief in beauty as a measure of a woman’s worth. Sorry, that is NOT a Torahdik mindset. Nor is it a healthy one. Find something else on which to hang your self-esteem. Do you value knowledge? Start taking some classes, live or online. Do you value chessed? Find an organization and start volunteering, or start reaching out on your own to people society tends to marginalize. Do you value skill? Start acquiring some new ones or polish up the ones you already have but have allowed to rust. IOW make yourself a person whose worth is genuine. Beauty is superficial, fleeting, and when all is said and done, not worth much.

Do you really want the theme of the hespedim at your funeral to be “She was such a good-looking woman”?
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malki2




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Dec 15 2019, 2:47 pm
amother [ Lime ] wrote:
So tbh I have a hard time believing this 100%. The reason is because it makes no sense.
I can understand why with halacha the Torah wrote a general rule and we need Torah she baal peh to explain. For example the Torah says to have kibud av v'aim. There are dozens of halachos and applications of this rule. I can understand why the written Torah didn't include all the specifics and details.
This is not so with the stories in sefer beraishes. Often times it's the addition of a single word or posuk that would have clarified everything. For example the posuk says the brothers hated yoseph, were jealous of him, and plotted to kill him. The Torah could have easily included a few more words to explain the brothers position, That yoseph was chayav misah. Or Sarah lying to avrohom that she didn't laugh. The Torah could have included a few more words to explain why Sarah laughed. The way the words are written now, it makes Sarah look like a she lied, as well as leading to endless confusion many generations later as to what really happened.
It's the same idea with your posuk. Yackov asks lavan to give him rochel so he can have relations with her. Rashi explains it doesn't mean what it says. But why couldn't the Torah just write what it meant? It would be as simple as including an extra few words.


The Torah was written concisely without a single extra word. And it was written with the infinite wisdom of Hashem. There have been countless scholars with brilliant minds who have spent their entire lives studying the Torah. How much time have you delved into the depths of its Wisdom to ask such questions? Are you really bringing it down to your childish level of comprehension and telling Hashem where he should have added a couple of words here and there so that little you could understand it better? Are you really serious??
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amother




Lime


Post  Sun, Dec 15 2019, 2:54 pm
malki2 wrote:
The Torah was written concisely without a single extra word. And it was written with the infinite wisdom of Hashem. There have been countless scholars with brilliant minds who have spent their entire lives studying the Torah. How much time have you delved into the depths of its Wisdom to ask such questions? Are you really bringing it down to your childish level of comprehension and telling Hashem where he should have added a couple of words here and there so that little you could understand it better? Are you really serious??


Who do you think hashem wrote the Torah for? It's meant for us, and only us. So what's the point of writing the Torah in a way that we don't understand it and we need to often literally say that when it says up it really means down and when it says right it really means left?
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etky




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Dec 15 2019, 3:03 pm
amother [ Lime ] wrote:
Who do you think hashem wrote the Torah for? It's meant for us, and only us. So what's the point of writing the Torah in a way that we don't understand it and we need to often literally say that when it says up it really means down and when it says right it really means left?


There are approaches that, in most cases, do give full credence to the pshat of the narrative portions of the Torah. There is also no obligation to accept any specific parshan's interpretation as authoritative. In fact, it would be impossible to do so since there are so many contradictory approaches within parshanut.
Obviously midrash halacha belongs to a different realm.
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malki2




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Dec 15 2019, 3:49 pm
etky wrote:
There are approaches that, in most cases, do give full credence to the pshat of the narrative portions of the Torah. There is also no obligation to accept any specific parshan's interpretation as authoritative. In fact, it would be impossible to do so since there are so many contradictory approaches within parshanut.
Obviously midrash halacha belongs to a different realm.


Of course there is such a thing as Pshat. But even Pshat needs to be understood and can’t be taken completely literally. Rashi always says, “Ain Mikra Yotzei Midey Pshuto.” Nevertheless, he needs to explain the pshat in the pesukim such as the one where Yaakov asks Lavan to be physical with Rachel. Otherwise you will be understanding the Torah like a Xtian.
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PinkFridge




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Dec 15 2019, 4:14 pm
amother [ Lime ] wrote:
I suppose that's the way we were all raised and trained to look at it. The avos and imahos were saintly and godly people who we should try to emulate everything they did.

The problem I have (and I realize that nobody else does because they were taught otherwise since a very young age) is that the words in the torah don't really portray the ancestors as extraordinary special people. First of all half the things you mention are simply not mentioned in the pesukim. (I know, I know, the medrash adds things, but we all know many medrashim aren't meant literally) You say Sarah morally supported avrohom when she moved from place to place....The posuk says "Vayikach Avrohom es Sarah", Avrohom "took" Sarah. We know sarah told Avrohom to have a child with her servant. When Avrohom took her advice, sarah resented him and told him that hashem will deal with you about this.
We know Sarh laughed at the idea she'd have children, and then covered it up to Avrohom by lying and saying she didn't laugh.....Rivka helped trick Yitchak into giving Yackov the Brochos, Rachel tricked Yackov and gave the simanim to Leah, One of Yackovs wives sold having relations with him for some fruit. (I forget whether it was Rachel or Leah.) The shevatim tried to murder their orphaned brother...Yehudah hired a harlot.

I just feel that the facts are so completely spinned when learning about them as children that by the time we reach adulthood we accept it 100% even though at face value it's utterly ridiculous.


It depends how much weight you give to Torah sheb'al peh. Guess how much I give. Hint: a lot.
Rabbi Orlofsky has a phenomenal shiur on the idea of giving the maids as wives. Try Naaleh, Dec. of a few years ago. The idea is that the maids would raise the children in their mistresses' image. Bilhah and Zilpah succeeded.
I'm not going to unpack each of the scenarios, but if you start off with the premise that these were superior people, yes people which means they were human, with human flaws, yet incredibly superior, the explanations work. I would also suggest checking out Dovid Forhman, who, with his brilliant command of text, is able to show how well so much of what some might call spin really makes sense.
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PinkFridge




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Dec 15 2019, 4:43 pm
amother [ Lime ] wrote:
So tbh I have a hard time believing this 100%. The reason is because it makes no sense.
I can understand why with halacha the Torah wrote a general rule and we need Torah she baal peh to explain. For example the Torah says to have kibud av v'aim. There are dozens of halachos and applications of this rule. I can understand why the written Torah didn't include all the specifics and details.
This is not so with the stories in sefer beraishes. Often times it's the addition of a single word or posuk that would have clarified everything. For example the posuk says the brothers hated yoseph, were jealous of him, and plotted to kill him. The Torah could have easily included a few more words to explain the brothers position, That yoseph was chayav misah. Or Sarah lying to avrohom that she didn't laugh. The Torah could have included a few more words to explain why Sarah laughed. The way the words are written now, it makes Sarah look like a she lied, as well as leading to endless confusion many generations later as to what really happened.
It's the same idea with your posuk. Yackov asks lavan to give him rochel so he can have relations with her. Rashi explains it doesn't mean what it says. But why couldn't the Torah just write what it meant? It would be as simple as including an extra few words.


There are so many more layers. I don't know what Rabbi Fohrman says, I only learn him casually. But I would suggest learning him. And listen to Shira Smiles on Parshas Vayeitzei this year (yutorah.org). There are exactly the amount of words and the content of the words that are necessary to learn it.
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amother




Pink


Post  Mon, Dec 16 2019, 1:37 am
https://www.chabad.org/library.....l.htm
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