Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Massei - 5771

VALUE OF AESTHETICS

Aesthetics is defined as the branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty.

I think we all appreciate looking at a well-manicured lawn due to its pleasing aesthetic look.  My question is; what is the Torah view of Aesthetics?

In Pareshat Masei the Torah notes that the cities given to the Levites must have a perimeter that remains undeveloped.  Commentators note that the requirement is for the sake of “TIFERET ERETZ YISRAEL” the beauty of the Land of Israel.  Aesthetics are important but not as a goal, only as a means to inspire the human being to see the hand of the Al-mighty in nature.  However, the Torah selected these cities to teach this message, since it is the Levites who are the educators of the Children of Israel and as teachers they must convey the idea of aesthetic for a higher purpose.

Shabbat Shalom