In fact, the importance of beautiful things is described in the Gemara in Brachos: “Three things improve a man's wisdom: a pretty woman, a pretty home, and pretty things.”
שלושה דברים מרחיבים דעתו של אדם: אישה נאה, דירה נאה וכלים נאים
When people are dating and others are telling them “looks don’t matter,” remember there is a Gemara in Kiddushin that says a man is not allowed to marry a woman until he personally sees her, because she has to be beautiful to him.
There are numerous places in the Torah that describe people of exceptional beauty. Sarah Imeniu (our mother/matriarch) was so beautiful, Avrahom Avinu (our father/patriarch) hid her in a box so she wouldn't be seen. Yosef was so handsome that women would gaze at him while they were cutting vegetables, and would be so entranced that they ended up cutting their own fingers. Rabbi Yishmael was known in his time to beautify women to make them more endearing to their husbands, and save their marriages.
Beauty is pleasing and relaxing to the mind. When you walk into a clean hotel room and everything is fresh and clean it automatically invites you to relax. Every time you pick up an apple in the store and turn it around in your hand to check for blemishes, you are looking for the most beautiful apple. Visiting places with picturesque scenery, studying the details of a flower, watching a gourmet chef plate food, and hiring a graphic designer to do a flyer are all testament to the impact of beauty in our lives. We have a special mitzvah from the Torah to make an effort to enhance and beautify any mitzvah we do, also known as Hiddur Mitzvah. This means looking for the perfect esrog (citrus fruit used for the holiday of Sukkot), making a sukkah feel like a home, making the Shabbos table elegant, and making the synagogue even more beautiful than one's home. The Beit Hamikdash, the Holy Temple, was known for its exceptional beauty, bringing in visitors from around the world to experience its grandeur. In fact, one of the requirements for the Cohen Gadol (High Priest) was that he needed to be beautiful.
External beauty is real! There is no need to wash it away and say “everyone is beautiful.” Would you do the same when talking about the strength of a linebacker compared to someone who plays ping pong?
Knowing this, how is it possible for a man to say to his bride that she is the most beautiful woman in the world? How can a mother say to her child they are the most beautiful in the world?
The difference is that people are more complex than inanimate things. People have a neshama (soul). When you look at a beautiful pomegranate, no matter how long you spend studying it, it will not change. What you see with inanimate objects, is what you get. When you spend time with a person and talk with them, you are able to see a deeper side to them. You are getting to see part of their neshama. The more time you spend with someone you are actually uncovering a deeper beauty. Sometimes after meeting a person your first impression changes. As you get to know them you get to see a funny side, or a deep intellectual side, or an emotional side to the person.
This is how a groom can sincerely tell his bride that she is the most beautiful in the whole world. Because to him she is. They know each other on a deeper level. This is how a mother can tell her child they are the most beautiful in the world. Because the mother knows the child in his entirety, all of his characteristics and personality add to his beauty.
The neshama of a person is not something revealed from a photograph, or simply from a first impression. The neshama’s beauty needs to be sought after and looked for in order to appreciate. Once this beauty is uncovered it is deeper than the superficial beauty. This is why there are highly respected global speakers that have a lazy eye, an unusual facial birthmark, or other physical deformity and still highly sought after. People are coming to hear their words, which is an expression of the neshama. The audience took a moment to look deeper at the person and see the beauty in the wisdom of the speaker.
When a person uncovers the intimate beauty of another person's neshama, it forever changes the way they see them. When the neshama’s beauty is revealed it literally lights up the person’s face, called hadras panim. Moshe Rabbeinu had such intense hadras panim that he needed to wear a veil.
This is ultimately what the Gemara is referring to when it says that Yiras Hashem (awe of God) makes a woman beautiful שֶֽׁקֶר הַחֵן וְהֶֽבֶל הַיֹּֽפִי, אִשָּׁה יִרְאַת יְיָ הִיא תִתְהַלָּל . You cannot tell a person’s Yiras Hashem by looking at them, it something revealed by their actions and words.
Rachel Imeinu is the only person the Torah describes as tovas ayin (good eye) and tovas mareh (good looks). When Yaakov Avinu saw Rachel Imeinu he saw she was exceptionally physically beautiful, and exceptionally beautiful in her yiras Hashem (awe of God).
Parshas Shemini (Torah portion in Leviticus) talks about the dietary laws of kosher and unkosher animals. The pig is brought down as the only animal that has split hooves and does not chew its cud. The pig lays with her feet out for everyone to see her hooves (they are split, as if she is kosher), but that is as far as her qualifications go. This is like someone who is physically beautiful. The camel does not have split hooves, but if you take the time to watch the camel eat, you will see he chews his cud. This is like someone who is beautiful after you get to know them. The sheep both has split hooves and chews its cud. This is the ultimate goal, to be beautiful on the outside and inside, just like Rachel Imeinu.