A verse in this week’s parshah, Kedoshim 19:29, commands us: “Do not profane you daughter to lead her astray so that the land should not be led astray and filled with sexual immorality.”
The Ohr HaChaim comments as follows:
G-d commands one who has a daughter not to treat her in a profane manner, displaying her before everyone and beautifying her before them, for “the glory of a princess is inward.”
Even if he does this for the sake of marrying her off, so that it should be known that she is a beautiful girl and pleasant, and that she should be married to one who is worthy of her – G-d commands us that this conduct constitutes a profanation of her, and what he’s doing is leading her astray, not marrying her off, for the natural fire will burn inside her and her honor will be profaned.
Not only this, but it will cause the fire to burn inside the heart of those who see and desire her, and the land will be led astray, and in the end the land will be full of immorality. And the sin of all this evil will hang from his neck.
I have been railing against “shidduch resumes” since they became “a thing” starting, it seems, in 2004. Before then, the idea of singles’ pictures and personal information being peddled around like baseball cards would have been considered outrageous. But then some people started doing it – ostensibly because it was convenient and “saved time” – then more people started doing it, then it became a phenomenon, and now if someone doesn’t play along he’s the crazy one.
A girl (or her parents) is expected to share a picture to be forwarded around and ogled by strangers. A girl who doesn’t allow her picture to be ogled by strangers is told she will not get married. Not only must she share a picture, she must take a glamour shot; otherwise, she will pale in comparison to those who do.
It doesn’t matter that from the earliest age she was impressed with the supreme importance of tznius. When social pressure enters the picture, tznius goes out the window, and she must be profaned for her own good; otherwise, she will not have a chance to marry a “catch.”
So the real lesson is not the importance of tznius, truly believing in G-d, or living according to principles even when faced with resistance, but that fitting in socially is what matters most.
The Ohr HaChaim explains that showcasing a girl’s beauty – even with the best of intentions, even for the sake of marrying her to someone suitable – profanes her, leads others astray, and leads to widespread immorality. Doing so is a biblical prohibition.
In light of this fact, the degrading practice of coercing singles to share pictures must immediately stop. It should go without saying that the common practice of both men and women displaying pictures of themselves on social media – to be ogled and admired for no greater purpose – certainly does not befit anyone who follows the Torah.
If you are single or the parent of a single, stop playing the game, even if people call you the usual names. If you really believe in G-d and the Torah, you need to prove it by doing the right thing even when it’s inconvenient and people disrespect you for it.
Stop asking for pictures. Stop sharing them. Break out of the madness, and help others do the same.