I said, Why? And he said, the shalom beis (tranquility of the home) you’re going to bring, the shiduchim (matches) you’re going to make, from what you do.
He said it like that. And then he looked and saw that my birthday was beis Iyar (the second day of the month of Iyar), which in the Omer count order of sephirot (the Kabbalistic emanations of God into the world, whose order is recited between the Seder night and Shavuot) is Tiferet sh’b’Tiferet (the Glory level of the Sephira of Glory – meaning the most beautiful point on the most beautiful vector, very simplistically put, of course – YY).
So he says, This is what you need to do. And he kept saying, shalom bayis and shiduchim.
I went back to my wife and I told her the story, and she said, OK, now you have your answer, now you’re settled.
So I went through all the required training, and now I’ve been quite successful performing cosmetic surgery for some time, Baruch HaShem. And what the Rebbe said has exactly come true. I see women after childbirth – and when a woman’s body has been ravaged by childbirth, I can really be useful in restoring her – and there’s your shalom beis (meaning she is desirable to her husband again – YY).
THERE’S NOBODY HERE BUT US JEWCANS
Yanover: What does it say about us as a nation that we are willing to spend so much money to look less Jewish?
Salzhauer: That’s a very good question. You know, I go through the comments in these articles, not just the ones in the Jewish Press, and there’s a certain percentage in the population which is against plastic surgery lechatchilah (as an option altogether). Something about it doesn’t sit right for them.
Yanover: My own natural response would be, Why would someone want to mutilate themselves? And why would anyone wish to turn themselves into a sexual object this way?
Salzhauer: There were also comments by people who said that it is gneivas da’as (deception). You fix her nose, you make her pretty, and then the kids end up looking nothing like her.
People are afraid they’d be deceived when they pick a spouse. There’s a deep seated psychology there, they want to know what they’re getting.
On the other hand, what was the aim of Hitler, may his name be blotted – he wanted the purest blood, the purest genes, he wanted everyone to look a certain way. And in fact, there was a case in Ohio where a plastic surgeon was murdered by a neo-Nazi for making people look more Aryan than they naturally were.
The question, then, is, are we Jewish because we have a big nose? Is that what our identity has come down to? That we would be compelled to say, I’m not changing because looking this way means I’m Jewish, because of the way that my genes are expressed externally?
If you get down to it, I think it’s wrong. Our Judaism is expressed in our actions, in the deeds that we do. But there are people, and let me tell you, some of them are among the most secular Jews you’ll ever meet, they won’t step in a shul, but you offend their nose, they’ll let you have it – because that’s the identity that they’ve latched on to.
Beauty is not entirely subjective. Psychologists have dome studies where they take images of faces and they show them to people from different cultures all over the world, and there are certain patterns, certain symmetries, certain facial shapes, that are more attractive than others in everyone’s eyes, no matter where they grew up.
There is something in the human psyche that prefers a certain kind of beauty.
When you said “mutilate” before, you cut right to my heart. The point is not to mutilate, the point is to enhance. The techniques we have today involve a knife, but if it wasn’t surgery, if they didn’t have to be put to sleep, if there wasn’t any risk involved, if you could just walk into a box, press a button and suddenly you’d look different, I don’t think there would be as much objection. But there would probably be some objection, still.
YOU CAN TAKE THIS TO THE RECEPTION COUNTER
I’m issuing a real plea to shadchanim, to send me their clients who might need cosmetic surgery but can’t afford it.
Yanover: How can you afford it, though? What will you do if 20 young women show at your door for their free nose jobs?
Salzhauer: They may not all get it the same day…