Parashat Balak (Numbers 22:2-25:9)

I discuss the weekly Torah portion with Rabbi Rabbs every Monday at 7pm PST on my live cam and on YouTube. Facebook Fan Page.

This week we study Parashat Balak (Numbers 22:2-25:9).

Here’s an excerpt from the rabbi’s notes from tonight’s show:

The Torah says a man must not marry a woman that is ugly in his eyes lest he comes to hate her. First, remember that beauty is very subjective – and has many facets. Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe wrote that a guy on a date should pay attention to the way the woman appears to him, because his physical reaction is a *reflection* of the way the general relationship is developing. If there’s a physical problem, the odds are that there’s also something coming between them personally.

Therefore, if a man truly concludes that his wife is too ugly to remain
married, then there probably are other, deeper, problems with their
marriage. Also, Talmud on Nedarim 66a in which Rabbi Yishmael – after having fed and pampered a young woman, increasing her beauty, observed that “Jewish girls are all beautiful, but it is poverty that makes them ugly”. Maybe that man needs to make more money for her and she’ll look better to him? The Beis Din might tell him something like that to change his mind about divorcing her.

* Sholom Rubashking update.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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