Aishet Chayil

Woman of Valor

Aishet Chayil, “The Woman of Valor,” is actually a selection of verses from the Book of Proverbs (31:10-31) written by King Solomon. It has been speculated that Solomon wrote these verses either as “provincial wisdom” on the ideal qualities of a wife, or as a tribute to his mother, Batsheva.

Some commentaries have suggested that the verses of Aishet Chayil are descriptions of the Torah, Shabbat, and the soul, all of which have feminine names in Hebrew and thus assume some feminine attributes. As with all of the books of the Bible, Proverbs reflects a deeper understanding of the relationship between the Jewish people and G-d.

The Midrash teaches that the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai was a marriage. On that day the Jewish nation was married to G-d, with the Torah serving as the ketubah (marriage contract). The Aishet Chayil section of Proverbs, therefore, can also be read as a description of the ideal Jewish nation – prosperous, generous, beautiful, loyal and happily laboring for the fruits of the Torah.

Who can find a woman of valour?
Her worth is more precious than pearls.
His heart trusts in her and lacks no treasure.
She does him good, never bad, all the days of her life.
She seeks out wool and linen, and her hands work willingly.
She is like a merchant’s ship, bringing her food from afar.
She rises while it is yet nighttime, and gives food to her household, the daily fare of her maidens.
She envisions a field and acquires it, from the fruit of her handiwork she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength, and invigorates her arms.
She tastes and sees that her business is good, and her lamp never goes out at night.
She sets her hands to the distaff; and her fingers work the spindle.
She spreads out her palm to the poor, her hands are stretched out to the needy.
She fears not snow for her household, for her whole house is dressed in scarlet.
She makes covers for herself, her clothing is linen and purple [wool].
Her husband is prominent in the gates, as he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes cloth and sells it, and delivers a belt to the merchant.
She is clothed in strength and splendor, she looks to the future cheerfully.
She opens her mouth in wisdom, and kindly teaching is on her tongue.
She oversees the activities of her household, and never eats the bread of idleness.
Her children rise to declare her happy, her husband praises her.
Many daughters have done well, but you surpassed them all.
Grace is false, beauty is fleeting, it is for her fear of G-d that a woman is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands, and her works shall praise her in the gates.

Aishet chayil mi yimtza v’rachok mipninim mich’rah:
Batach ba lev ba’alah v’shalal lo yechsar:
G’malat’hu tov v’ lo rah kol yimay chai’yeha:
Darsha tzemer u’phishtim va’ta’as b’chay’fetz capeha:
Hayta ka’aniyot socher mimerchak tavi lachmah:
Va’takam b’od lie’lah va’titen teref l’vayta v’chok l’na’aroteh’ah:
Zam’ma sadeh va’tikachayhu mipri chapeh’ha natah karem:
Chagra b’oz matneh’hah va’t’ameytz ziro’o’teha:
Ta’amah ki tov sachrah lo yichbeh ba’lie’lah nayrah:
Yadeha shilcha vakishor v’chapeha tamchu falech
Kapah parsa leh’ani v’yadeha shilcha la’evyon:
Lo tira l’vayta mishaleg ki chol bayta lavoosh shanim:
Marvadim a’setah lah shaysh v’argaman l’voosha:
Nodah ba’sharim ba’alah bshivto im ziknay aretz:
Sadin a’setah va’timkor va’chagor natna la’kna’ani:
Oz v’hadar l’voosha va’tis’chak l’yom acharon:
Pi’ha patcha v’chachma v’torat chesed al l’shona:
Tzofiya halichot bayta v’lechem atzloot lo tochel:
Kamu bane’ha va’ya’ashruha ba’ala va’yihal’lah:
Rabot banot asu chayil v’at alit al koolana:
Sheker ha’chayn v’ hevel ha’yofi eesha yirat Hashem hee tit’halal:
T’nu lah mipri yade’ha v’y’hale’luha bash’arim ma’ase’ha.


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