Weekly MMM – Parsha Vayeshev
This week’s Parsha is Vayeshev, and I’ve chosen the topic of beauty. One of the reasons is because one of the “stars” of the story this week is Joseph, who is known to have been the epitome of beauty in the world.
As we know, Joseph was captured and held as a slave in Egypt. He was working for a rich family and his beauty attracted the lady of the house, who tried to force him into a physical relationship, which Joseph ran away from and which lead to his imprisonment.
When Joseph was rescued out of prison and appointed as second-in-command, he was paraded past Pharoah, and women were throwing themselves at him as he passed by the entire nation of Egypt.
Joseph had physical beauty, but he also had something more. He didn’t just have a Hollywood-type exterior beauty, but a beauty on the inside as well. For Joseph, his beauty came from the fact that he was a tsaddik, a righteous one.
The Sefira of Yesod is all about this kind of beauty, when a person completely shines in the totally of themselves into the world. When a person, man or woman, is shining in that way, that’s real beauty.
Another aspect of beauty comes out in this Parsha, the last one we read before Hannukah. Since Hannukah is all about the distinction between the Maccabees, the heros of the Jewish story and their unique perspective on life, versus the Greek nation and its ideologies.
Although the Greeks contributed greatly to civilization, the main difference in perspective, compared to Jews, being their definition of what beauty is, meaning, “what you see is what you get.” Greeks believed beauty is something that’s tangible and measurable, and that’s evident in their appearance, their athletics and their philosophies.
To the Greeks, beauty had to be visible. By direct contrast, Jews believe “what you DON’T see is what you get.” It’s our soul connection, our G-d connection, our Torah connection and our Shabbos connection. These are things which intangible and invisible.
Jews have been and still are teaching the world about beauty that you don’t show, that’s a mystery requiring the use of imagination to understand what it’s all about. This is another important thing in this week’s Parsha as well.
I believe we include the whole concept of beauty during my weekly MMM explorations. Half the beauty is to answer the question, “What is it that makes us attractive?” That includes attraction by other people, between a man and a woman, a person to a religion, a person to a way of life, a person to everything they encounter during the day. What’s the attraction there?
So, the real beauty and the attraction are one and the same. We are attracted to that which is beautiful to us, that which we resonate with and we need. People who are trying to find a mate, a job or the right people, places and things to enhance their lives, need to know this secret of attraction.
People are attracted to what they are lacking, what they need. And they may be attracted to what you have, that nobody else has. When you emanate that because you understand what it is, the more naturally the better, then you are a source of walking beauty, a deep source of the substance that other people need. That’s beauty, and it’s what makes you beautiful.
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