This post might come across as controversial. And to some it’s old hat. However, there’s this person I follow on Facebook and that person constantly posts (rails against, really) make-up, high heels, jewelry, clothing, the works! And I think this person is missing the point. At first I would ignore it, but it’s as I examine my own life and my blog and my intentions with my blog that this person’s posts have become increasingly bothersome. You see, I don’t believe that a woman wearing any of these things is committing a sin. I don’t think “modesty” means plain, bare faced, or meager. I don’t think G-d is upset with us when we wear earrings, a statement necklace, or red lipstick. I think he’s upset with those things when all we’ve done is focused on our outer appearance without investing time in our souls. But that’s not limited to makeup or beauty or fashion. The same can be applied to our children, our spouses, our jobs, our hobbies, and even our congregations. If we spend too much time obsessing over those things and we neglect our spiritual upkeep it’s no different than anything else.
As a woman I like to feel beautiful. And that feeling isn’t limited to heels and high fashion. It can be enjoying a book on my porch, drinking coffee, and listening to the rain. It can be watching the sun set at the sea wall or counting stars in the desserts of New Mexico. Those things make me feel beautiful. As do beautiful tichels, floral print dresses, and high end mascara. Beauty (and using things to enhance it) isn’t sinful. Are we not allowed to take care of ourselves, invest in ourselves, and be a pleasing sight to our husbands? And what about G-d? He is our KING! Are we not supposed to adorn ourselves as a way to show respect to our King?? If you were summoned by royalty how would you approach the throne? When my family and I go to our house of worship we don’t dress in rags. We don’t apply solemn looks to our faces or enter with unkempt hair. We wear our best. We wash our faces, fix our hair, and I apply makeup. I want to look pleasing to my King and as a daughter of the King I believe it’s my responsibility to invest in not only my spiritual beauty, but my outer beauty as well. I believe the way I dress and apply my makeup reflects my inner beauty. It’s my hope that my outer beauty is a reflection of my inner. What’s the saying? Oh, yes,
Beauty is skin deep, but ugly is to the bone.
It’s also my belief that personal grooming is a direct reflection of one’s attitude. There are extremes to every area of life– and modesty is no different. A woman can be plain as crackers or painted beyond recognition. Of course you can make a statement of rebellion through grooming–grooming that makes a woman stand out as odd or different from culturally accepted norms of good taste detracts from a godly emphasis on her inner character. Such indiscretion—in stark contrast to the above scriptural guidelines—characterized the rebellious “daughters of Zion” mentioned in Isaiah 3:16. (Taken from here)
Moreover the LORD said, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet:
And if you’re looking for a beautiful Jewish explanation of feminine beauty there’s always this:
One of my wife’s recurring complaints concerns the dearth of closet space in our home. A reminder that all my clothing occupies a measly corner of one closet – comprising a small fraction of the home’s total closet space – invariably elicits a detailed explanation of a woman’s extensive wardrobe needs. Different seasons call for different styles, and each season requires its own set of elegant, casual, elegant/casual, work and Shabbat clothing… Being a certified “outsider,” I am very intrigued by the close relationship the female gender shares with style, fashion, and beauty. Is this preoccupation a vice or a virtue? Furthermore, this female fixation isn’t limited to dress and personal appearance; it’s incredible how some women will spend fifteen minutes decorating a platter of food which will be consumed in less than five! I wonder: does the Torah– our guide in every area of life – approve of this preoccupation with apparent vanity? Is there perhaps a deeper reason for a woman’s innate connection to beauty?
Is there perhaps a deeper reason for a woman’s innate connection to beauty?
An understanding of the very purpose of the creation of the Jewish soul sheds light on the divergent natures of the sexes. For reasons completely unfathomable to the human mind, G‑ddesires a “dwelling place” in this lowly world. It is our task to take a world which is driven by the pursuits of ego, pleasure, money, and honor, a world which is utterly inhospitable to spirituality, and through the performance of mitzvot to convert it into a royal palace for its Creator.
Constructing a palace requires master interior designers as well as skilled builders. A palace isn’t worthy of its name unless it is overflowing with exquisite furnishings, graceful tapestries, and costly pieces of art. Large bare rooms with tall ceilings are nice—but they can also be found at your local gym… The divine palace we are building also requires builders and interior decorators. While the commandments, mitzvoth, we perform accumulate and turn into the bricks, walls and ceilings of the palace, it is the beauty and warmth of these mitzvot which provide the handsome and elegant interior.
Generally speaking, while men are busy laying the bricks, women infuse the palace with splendor and beauty. A beautiful mitzvah is one performed with feeling, love, and pride; and it is the special mission of the Jewish woman to infuse her home, and the world at large, with this beauty. It is the Jewish mother, with her instinctive gentleness and warmth, who teaches her child to revere and love G‑d’s commandments. In short: the man creates the body; the woman adds the soul. This is one of the main reasons why the Jewishness of a child is determined through the mother. It is the Jewish woman that provides the essence, that defines what something is and what something is capable of being.
Indeed, the woman’s passion for beauty is a reflection of her very essence and purpose. Bringing beauty into all areas of life – from the most spiritual to the most mundane – is her holy calling.
(Taken from here.)
Ladies, I will always encourage women to invest in themselves. And I will always insist that “themselves” is never just the external, but the internal as well.