Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Jewish Beauty

Photo by Inga Barsky
Dear friends, 

Dina and I are so grateful to Hashem that our daughter Fruma is engaged to Levi Karp. Here is what I wrote in honor of their engagement. The dvar Torah is in regular font, and the personal message to the new couple is in italics. 


Baruch Hashem, I am here to see my daughter Fruma get engaged, and to a wonderful bochur, from a wonderful family. 

Mazal Tov to the Karps and the Glicks, and to the Hurwitzes and Berkowitzes, Baruch Hashem, this is a match made in heaven. And now, if there was someone in Lubavitch that you weren't related to yet, you can be certain that you are now. 

You are getting engaged in the week of Behar-Bechukosai. 

You may ask, what does Behar-Bechukosai have to do with shidduchim?

The last Mishnah of maseches Taanis, talks about shidduchim. It tells about Tu B'Av, when the eligible girls of Yerushalayim would dress in white and dance in the Vineyards. They would say to the boys, "Bochur, lift up your eyes and see, what will you choose for yourself? Don't look at beauty, look at family. Charm is false and beauty is futile, a woman who is G-d-fearing is to be praised."

The Rebbe asks, "Was it possible, that every maiden in Yerushalayim came from a good family, that she would be able to say, look at my family?"

The question becomes stronger, when you see what the Talmud says next. It brings a beraisa that details what exactly the young ladies said. The pretty ones said, "look at beauty." The ones with yichus said, "look at family." The homely ones said, "take your pick for the sake of heaven."

The beraisa seems to be contradicting the Mishnah, the Mishnah seems to put everyone in one boat, "look at family," but the beraisa says that they said details. Also, it seems very vain and shallow of the pretty ones, to say, "look at beauty." Is that a Jewish value? And how does it fit with the wholesome message of the Mishnah, that "Charm is false and beauty is futile?"

There are two approaches when it comes to viewing the qualities of a person. You can take a general view of a person, or you can look at the details.

In the general view, you see a Jewish girl, a daughter of our matriarchs, Sarah, Rivka, Rachel and Leah, who inherited their beautiful qualities. Even though they might be hidden at the moment, you know that they are there, and that eventually they will surely surface. The Mishnah is talking about this general view, that is why it says, "Lift up your eyes and see," because he is taking a general view. And when it says, "Charm is false and beauty is futile," it is referring to shallow beauty and shallow Charm.

The beraisa is talking about a detailed view, after he already has seen the general view. The girls of Yerushalayim are talking about meaningful Jewish virtues. Why is she beautiful, because she took the beautiful inheritance that she got from Sarah, Rivka, Rachel and Leah, and made them her own. Therefore, she is truly beautiful on the inside, and when you are beautiful on the inside, it comes out on the outside, that is Jewish beauty worth mentioning. That is not false and not futile.

In other words, if you accept the gifts that are your inheritance and make them your own, then the details have value. Real beauty and real family in the light of Torah, in the light of Yiddishkeit, and Chassidus. However, if you only have the details without making the inheritance your own, it is empty beauty, false and futile.

This brings us to Behar-Bechukosai. Behar is a mountain, tall, strong and beautiful, it is the details. Bechukosai is our essence, our inheritance, the Torah. If you make the Bechukosai, the Torah your own, then the Behar, the details are of value. But if you only have the Behar, the details, it is a pretty rock, with no Yiddishe taam and no Jewish value.

We are blessed to have Fruma and Levi, who have it all. They know where they come from, the Karps the Glicks the Hurwitzes and the Berkowitzes, who have amazing virtues, they are honest, kind, giving, talented, strong, learned, smart and chassidish, to name a few. And you both are internalizing them. It is wonderful to see such an amazing couple coming together, just keep it up. Make Hashem proud, and the Rebbe proud, and you will certainly make us and all klal Yisrael proud. 

And to my Fruma, you come from a long line of great, smart, kind, and strong women, who made a difference. I see that in you. Take a lesson from your mother and from Levi's mother, who are both truly beautiful because they internalized it. And since they are beautiful on the inside, they are beautiful on the outside as well. 

You have it in you to be like them and even better. 

Mazal Tov! Mazal Tov! 


  1. Expressed, as only you can, with beauty, wisdom and heart... Mazal Tov to you & D, to the extended families to all of Klal Yisroel for something magical has happened to us all. I love you all...

  2. Such a beautiful message from a loving father to his soon to be wed daughter. I’m so happy that you have merited to be present at this momentous occasion. Only Nachas

  3. There’s nothing like being proud of our offspring!
    You have so much to be Thankful for, you and your family are an inspiration for everyone who knows you!
    Stay strong!!!!

  4. Mazal tov beautifully written...

  5. so beautiful! Yasher Koach Yitzy and Dina, and mazal tov!

  6. Mazal Tov to Fruma and all the family! So happy for all of you!

  7. Mazel Tov, and much bracha and hatzlacha to everyone!

  8. Beautiful message true and proud - mazel tov much yiddishe nachas!

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  10. Such a wonderful message written with so much awareness.Fruma and Levi are so lucky to have this beautiful letter of so many blessings .Mazal Tov

  11. CHERYL HOROWITZMay 9, 2018 at 2:31 PM

    Mazel Tov!