Companion question to Why does Tanac"h specifically describe these males as "beautiul"?

Off the top of my head, the pesukim describe the following women as being beautiful:

  • Sarah (Bereishis 12:11)
  • Rivkah (Bereishis 24:16)
  • Rachel (Bereishis 29:17)
  • Tamar bas David (Shmuel II:14:27)
  • Esther (Esther 2:7)

Additionally, Chazal identify several other beautiful women (Megillah 15a):

  • Avigayil
  • Rachav
  • Vashti
  • Ya'el
  • Michal bas Sha'ul

(There may be others, but I can't think of them, so feel free to edit, if needed.)

What is special about these people that Tana"ch and Chazal felt the specific need to describe how beautiful they were? Is there something, in particular, perhaps some hidden or important message as to why we need to know this information? What made these people especially "beautiful," more than other female personalities throughout Tana"ch that are not described this way?

  • 3
    Doesn't this explain why Avimelekh pursued Sarah, why Yaakov pursued Rachel, Amnon pursued Tamar, Achashverosh pursued Esther? It's just relevant in the story. If a guy is about to pursue a girl, you introduce it by noting her beauty
    – Double AA
    Mar 31, 2019 at 21:39
  • @DanF Read the very first line of this post again...
    – DonielF
    Apr 1, 2019 at 15:12
  • @DonielF In a hurry... Duh!
    – DanF
    Apr 1, 2019 at 15:13

1 Answer 1


Ibn Kaspi in his commentary to the verse describing Rachel's beauty explains that the verse is providing us with the reason for why Yaakov loved Rachel instead of Leah:

זה הקדמת ידיעה וסבה למה שקרוב לו ויאהב יעקב את רחל וכו'⁠ וכל הנמשך אחר כן מענין רחל ולאה

Interestingly, he seems to view it as a negative on Yaakov's part:

ואולם מה שהוא תמה גדול בחקינו ובחוק כל חסיד איך יעקב אבינו היה בוחר בחורות יפות

As for the passage in Megillah 15a, R. Yosef Chaim of Baghdad in his commentary there explains that Sarah, Avigail, Rachav, and Esther are listed to praise them that despite their beauty they were righteous:

נראה כונתו לשבחם לענין הצדקות דאף על פי שהיו יפיפיות גדולות היו צדקניות

And he explains that according to the opinion that Vashti replaces Esther, it is to show that even though she was one of the most beautiful women in the world Esther still had more chen:

ולמאן דמעייל ושתי בא להגיד עוצם הנזכר דאף על גב דבשתי היתה מן יפיפיות שהעולם עם כל זה נתן הקב"ה חן לאסתר יותר ממנה

  • Is there a pattern? I think the OP (and myself) is interested in seeing a pattern - why not others? Does it reflect righteousness - not necessary (Vashti), so why bother?
    – Al Berko
    Mar 31, 2019 at 22:06
  • How would Judaism look (esp the Halacha part) if the Torah didn't mention that fact at all? Would something be missing? How about Bat Sheva btw, Yehudith, Yael, Queen of Sheba and more.
    – Al Berko
    Mar 31, 2019 at 22:07
  • @AlBerko Is there any reason to assume that halacha would be affected by the Torah's description of certain women's beauty?
    – Alex
    Mar 31, 2019 at 22:09
  • I personally look for a הכרח - necessity of a statement - why would the Torah bother spending words to mention that - how are our lives affected by that? If they are not - it seems ... lame is the term?
    – Al Berko
    Mar 31, 2019 at 22:13
  • @AlBerko I hate to be the one that caused you to think that the Torah is lame...
    – Alex
    Mar 31, 2019 at 22:14

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