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The Secret of Modesty PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rabbi Yechiel Eisenbach   
Monday, 05 December 2011
In this essay, we will try to explain the gravity of women dressing in an immodest fashion in order to appear attractive in the eyes of strange men.

It is known that during marital relations, a woman receives, via her husband, Heavenly “shefa” or Divine energizing blessing. This “shefa” is the life-force that brings the woman vitality and health. This special Divine blessing descends exclusively via her husband during the marital union. This “shefa” brings the wife a feeling of both spiritual and physical wellbeing, just as do food and drink.

However, if a woman dresses immodestly and causes a strange man to fantasize about her, the “Sitra Achra” (realm of evil) takes the “shefa” that was destined for the woman and transfers it to the man who fantasizes about via the high that he feels from his fantasy. In a sense, he steals her “shefa.” Instead of it coming down to her through her husband, it goes, in a polluted fashion, to him. This causes damage to the woman because she is not receiving the life-force she needs to be content and healthy.

Similarly, when a man fantasizes about some strange woman, when he has marital relations with his wife, he brings down the “shefa” of the other woman, and his wife will lack the “shefa” personally suited to her, and she will be left feeling empty.

It may be that a husband is disinterested in his wife and fantasizes about other woman, causing his wife to dress immodestly in order to attract the attention she feels lacking. But this only causes her to lose the “shefa” she needs, when it is channeled off to the men she excites. In contrast, a modest woman maintains the interest of her husband, by giving him the feeling that she is exclusively his, and thus she receives the blessing intended for her. The modest woman has no need to search for foreign impure attention and ego-satisfaction to fill up a void within.
Thus it behooves a man not to stray after his eyes, and focus his longing solely on his wife, especially during marital relations, so that she receive her rightful Divine blessing and not be tempted to look elsewhere for a feeling of satisfaction.

It is found in the Midrash that modesty is “lovely” and that nothing is “beloved” by Hashem as much as modesty. This lovely and beloved state is experienced by the husband of a modest woman. Her modesty arouses his love, and a feeling of trust and wellbeing, for both partners intrinsically feel that their lovemaking brings them both their share of Divine blessing and satisfaction.

The Gaon of Vilna teaches that just as a man should labor in the learning of Torah, a woman should strive to safeguard the laws of modesty. Just as the man’s Torah study brings him blessing, the woman’s modesty brings the Divine Presence to rest on her.  So too, the Chofetz Chaim wrote that all spiritual, physical, and material blessing come from modesty.

It is told in the Gemara that the woman, Kimchit, merited to have seven sons who were High Priests because she was modest in her home (Yoma 47A).

And we find with Sarah that she was awarded with a son due to her modesty in keeping herself out of view, as suggested by the verse, “And they said to him, where is Sarah your wife?” (Bereshit, 18:9, see Rashi).

So too, the modesty of Rivka and Tamar, who covered themselves with kerchiefs, was rewarded with their having sons. As the Midrash states: “When the woman acts according to the Jewish way in being modest, she merits to have sons who are learned in Torah and Mishna, and are known for their acts of kindness (BaMidbar, 8:9).

It is written, “A woman of valor, who can find? Her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts in her, and he shall have no lack of gain” (Proverbs, 31:10). We see from this that the family’s livelihood derives from the modesty and the wife’s reverence for G-d. Because of her modesty, he trusts in her, and needn’t look elsewhere, and she trusts in him, that he is all hers, and they both feel secure that they are receiving their full share of blessing from G-d. 

Last Updated ( Monday, 05 December 2011 )
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