What They Tell You About Dating (And Makeup)

In high school we learned that makeup is evil, and possibly destroyed the Beis Hamikdash. (At least eyeshadow did. It’s pshat pasuk in Yeshayahu or something. Or maybe Rashi says it’s pshat. Anyway, we learned this. I think most high schools do. Did you?)

In seminary we learned that you aren’t supposed to take out the garbage without it.

Actually, we had a teacher in high school who told us about the time her mother-in-law picked her out when she was taking the F train home. Our future teacher was terribly dressed and not wearing makeup, slouched in her seat exhausted after a long day of work. Even so, this Hungarian woman from Boro Park picked her out as the one for her son.

The moral of her story is, never go out looking messy, tired, and without makeup, because your future mother-in-law might be looking at you on the train. (Yeah, I didn’t follow either.)

Anyway, my point is, the messages regarding makeup are beyond confusing. Which is probably why I got a distressed email about it from a younger friend. She had recently graduated high school and was being pressured to wear makeup on dates, but didn’t want to destroy the Beis Hamikdash.

I told her that makeup, like everything in life, is great when used in moderation for the right purpose. Unfortunately, Bais Yaakov doesn’t know how to explain moderation, so makeup must be evil until it’s mandatory.

She was satisfied.

But recently I heard a different explanation, given by a high school teacher. It went like this:

“You have to dress up and put yourself out there so you can get married quickly and stop putting yourself out there.”

In other words, briefly disregard all the rules of tznius that we taught you, in order that you can accomplish a more important goal of getting married, and then go back to being tznius.

(After you are married, everyone knows, you are only supposed to dress up for your husband. We were all told the laudatory story of the woman who put on her makeup and sheitel after coming home from work.)

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What They Tell You About Dating (And Makeup)

13 thoughts on “What They Tell You About Dating (And Makeup)

  1. > I told her that makeup, like everything in life, is great when used in moderation for the right purpose. Unfortunately, Bais Yaakov doesn’t know how to explain moderation, so makeup must be evil until it’s mandatory.

    That’s a great insight, and applies to much more than makeup.

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  2. DF3 says:

    It didn’t occur to her that the Beis HaMikdash has already been destroyed? Chances are God’s got bigger priorities than makeup. But if He goes back to experimenting, given that it’s the first day of autumn, perhaps He could try a little rouge on the sun.

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  3. Alex says:

    The eyeshadow thing is from the Gemara (Yoma 9b):

    מקדש ראשון מפני מה חרב מפני ג’ דברים שהיו בו ע”ז וגלוי עריות ושפיכות דמים… גלוי עריות דכתיב ויאמר ה’ יען כי גבהו בנות ציון ותלכנה נטויות גרון ומשקרות עינים הלוך וטפוף תלכנה וברגליהן תעכסנה יען כי גבהו בנות ציון שהיו מהלכות ארוכה בצד קצרה ותלכנה נטויות גרון שהיו מהלכות בקומה זקופה ומשקרות עינים דהוו מליין כוחלא עיניהן הלוך וטפוף תלכנה שהיו מהלכות עקב בצד גודל וברגליהן תעכסנה א”ר יצחק שהיו מביאות מור ואפרסמון ומניחות במנעליהן וכשמגיעות אצל בחורי ישראל בועטות ומתיזות עליהן ומכניסין בהן יצה”ר כארס בכעוס

    The key part is “ומשקרות עינים דהוו מליין כוחלא עיניהן” which would seem to indicate that there is an inherent problem. However a slightly different version of this passage appears in Shabbos 62b and it has an additional word in this phrase:

    ומשקרות עינים דהוה מלאן כוחלא לעינייהו ומרמזן

    This would seem to indicate that the problem is specifically that the girls were “מרמזן”.

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  4. NoName says:

    She likely wore a snood (that covered her hair completely) outside the home. But wore a sheitel for her husband. I had a teacher like that. First time I saw her in a sheitel I was shocked! Many hold that a women’s hair must be covered at all times (Kimchis story). But again, the story of Kimchis always made me question. So it was a good thing 6 of her sons died young so that all 7 could have a chance to be a Kohen Gadol? I’d rather my kids be alive I’d think…

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    1. Bruria says:

      One teacher(at a non-bais Yaakov school) taught us that what this meant is that wen the kohen gasoline was tameh on Yom Kippur, and they had to pick a substitute, her sons were so great that they had the zechus of being picked as substitutes, each a different year. No sons were harmed in the appointment of each son as kohen gadol.

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      1. Alex says:

        That’s basically what the Gemara says:

        אמרו עליו על רבי ישמעאל בן קמחית פעם אחת סיפר דברים עם ערבי אחד בשוק ונתזה צינורא מפיו על בגדיו ונכנס ישבב אחיו ושמש תחתיו וראתה אמן שני כהנים גדולים ביום אחד ושוב אמרו עליו על רבי ישמעאל בן קמחית פעם אחת יצא וסיפר עם אדון אחד בשוק ונתזה צינורא מפיו על בגדיו ונכנס יוסף (עם) אחיו ושמש תחתיו וראתה אמן שני כהנים גדולים ביום אחד

        מעשה בשמעון בן קמחית שיצא לדבר עם המלך ערב יום הכפורים ונתזה צינורה של רוק מפיו על בגדיו וטימתו ונכנס יהודה אחיו ושימש תחתיו בכהונה גדולה וראת אימן שני בניה כהנים גדולים ביום אחד שבעה בנים היו לה לקמחית וכולן שימשו בכהונה גדולה

        The first is the version in the Talmud Bavli; the second id from the Talmud Yerushalmi. Between these two versions, five out of seven kohanim gedolim are accounted for.

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    2. Alex says:

      “Many hold that a women’s hair must be covered at all times (Kimchis story).”

      Interesting. The simple explanation of that Gemara would not at all indicate that it is an obligation. The Sages asked Kimchis how she merited to have seven kohanim gedolim and she answered that even the walls never saw her hair — that sounds like the Sages were asking for something extra that she did, not merely that she fulfilled a standard obligation.

      ת”ר שבעה בנים היו לה לקמחית וכולן שמשו בכהונה גדולה אמרו לה חכמים מה עשית שזכית לכך אמרה להם מימי לא ראו קורות ביתי קלעי שערי אמרו לה הרבה עשו כן ולא הועילו

      Also, the Sages response indicates that they disagreed with Kimchis that covering her hair at all times caused her to have seven kohanim gedolim.

      However, one could perhaps suggest that really it is an obligation to cover hair at all times, but Kimchis didn’t know that, and she thought that she was going above and beyond the call of duty in covering her hair and thus merited seven kohanim gedolim, and then the Sages were simply telling her that that can’t be the reason because that is just the basic obligation and is not anything special. Or she knew that it was the basic obligation but she thought that she was one of the few who actually fulfilled this obligation and thus merited seven kohanim gedolim, and the Sages were telling her that there were plenty of other people who also covered their hair at all times, so it’s nothing special.

      Regardless, it is pretty clear from the Gemara elsewhere that hair does not need to be covered in your own home:

      אמר רבי אסי אמר ר’ יוחנן קלתה אין בה משום פרוע ראש הוי בה רבי זירא היכא אילימא בשוק דת יהודית היא ואלא בחצר אם כן לא הנחת בת לאברהם אבינו שיושבת תחת בעלה אמר אביי ואיתימא רב כהנא מחצר לחצר ודרך מבוי

      Also, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein writes that this (the chumra of Kimchis) is something that we have not heard anyone do, even in earlier generations, and even in the times of the Tannaim only a select few individuals did it:

      כיסוי הראש בפני בעליה אינה צריכה דאיסור פרועת ראש הוא רק בשוק ואפילו בשעת נידותה ליכא שום איסור בביתה בפני בעלה ובניה והידור איכא אפילו לעשות כקמתית (יומא מ”ז ע”א) אבל לא שמענו שאיכא צנועות כאלו ואפילו בדורות הקודמים ובזמן התנאים לא היו נשותיהן נוהגות כן אלא יחידות כקמתית

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