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Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Secrets to becoming a Ten

Daf Yomi Nazir 31

The Torah states that a kosher animal chews its cud and has split hooves.  The Rogatchover Gaon famously asks: Does cud-chewing and split hooves make the animal kosher?  Or is the animal spiritually kosher and the cud and hooves are merely external signs for us to recognize the kosher animals and distinguish them from the non-kosher beasts?

Rav Chisda taught: A black cow has the best hide.  A red cow has the best meat.  A white cow is best for plowing.

Why would a red cow have better meat?  The cow’s skin colour has nothing to do with the quality of the meat!  The flesh is the flesh, no matter what colour the hair on the outside may be!

The answer, like the Rogatchover suggests, is that the exterior skin itself has nothing to do with the qualities of the animal.  Rather, Heaven has given us certain signs to distinguish one animal’s interior from another.  Just like kosher animals are in essence kosher – but the Almighty endows them with external signs so that we can recognize them as such – so too, G-d placed certain distinguishing signs upon His creations so that we can more easily discern their inner nature.  Red skin on a cow is a sign that the meat is better, white skin is a sign from Heaven that this particular cow plows better. 

That’s why beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Hopefully, you think your spouse is the most beautiful person in the world.  Other people might disagree.  How does that work? 

You and your spouse are spiritually connected – two halves of the one soul.  When you find your other half, you immediately recognize them and are attracted to them.  You find them incredibly physically beautiful, because G-d has given you the external sign in order to recognize their soul from amongst the billions of other people in the world.

When it comes to looks, some people like to offer a ten-point rating.  But if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it’s rather meaningless.  What’s more important is a ten-point rating of middos (character traits).  If you’re single, instead of asking whether someone is a nine or ten in terms of looks, you should be asking if they’re a nine or ten in terms of middos.  That’s what truly counts. 

And if Heaven has blessed you with universally-attractive external appeal, then our Sages tell us that the goal is to become tocho k’baro – that the interior must match the exterior.  If G-d has made you a ten on the outside, He expects that you will strive to become a ten on the inside.  And the fact is that no matter how Vogue magazine understands beauty, to the person that counts the most in this world you are the most beautiful person on the planet.  In other words, it’s time to realize that you are exceedingly pretty/handsome!  You are magnificently gorgeous!   You are a Ten!  If that’s the case on the outside, then you should definitely be striving to make yourself a ten on the inside, as well! 

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  The Almighty has given us certain external signs to recognize inner beauty.  May you work on developing your inner beauty and dazzle all who meet you!

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