אֵֽשֶׁת־חַיִל Eshet Chayil -Virtuous Woman
מִי יִמְצָא וְרָחֹק מִפְּנִינִים מִכְרָֽהּ׃
Eshet chayil mi yimtza v'rachok mip'ninim michrah
A virtuous wife, who can find? Her value is far beyond pearls.
A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones. Mishlei (Proverbs)12:4
Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of (YHWH) יְהוֹוָה.Mishlei (Proverbs)18:22
He that plans to marry ought to seek diligently for such a one, to have this principally in his eye, in all his enquires, and to take heed that he be not confused by beauty or gaiety or lustful desires, wealth or parentage or dressing well. For she may very well have all these attractions and yet not be a virtuous woman, at all, as these advantages are no certain recommendation of a good wife. - Matthew Henry
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.1 Timothy 2:9, 10,
women likewise, that [they
be] in behaviour as
becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much
wine, teachers of good things;
Likewise, ye wives, [be] in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation [coupled] with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward [adorning] of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But [let it be] the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, [even the ornament] of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of יְהוֹוָה of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in יְהוֹוָה, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement [not frightened by any fear
]. 1 Peter 3:1-6
בָּהּ לֵב בַּעְלָהּ וְשָׁלָל לֹא יֶחְסָֽר׃
Batach bah lev ba'lah v'shalal lo yechsar
Her husband's heart relies on her and he shall lack no fortune.
טֹוב וְלֹא־רָע כֹּל יְמֵי חַיֶּֽיה׃
G'malathu tov v'lo ra kol y'mei chayeiha
She does him good and not evil, all the days of her life.
צֶמֶר וּפִשְׁתִּים וַתַּעַשׂ בְּחֵפֶץ כַּפֶּֽיהָ׃
Darshah tzemer ufishtim vata'as b'chefetz kapeiha
She seeks wool and flax, and works with her hands willingly.
כָּאֳנִיֹּות סֹוחֵר מִמֶּרְחָק תָּבִיא לַחְמָֽהּ׃
Haitah ko'oniyot socher mimerchak tavi lachmah
She is like the merchant ships, she brings her bread from afar.
וַתָּקָם ׀ בְּעֹוד לַיְלָה
וַתִּתֵּן טֶרֶף לְבֵיתָהּ וְחֹק לְנַעֲרֹתֶֽיהָ׃
Vatakom b'od lailah vatiten teref l'vetah v'chok l'na'aroteiha
She arises while it is still night, and gives food to her household and a portion to her maidservants.
זָמְמָה דֶה וַתִּקָּחֵהוּ
מִפְּרִי כַפֶּיהָ [נְטַע כ] (נָטְעָה ק) כָּֽרֶם׃
Zam'mah sadeh vatikachehu mip'ri chapeiha nat'ah karem
She plans for a field, and buys it. With the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
בְעֹוז מָתְנֶיהָ וַתְּאַמֵּץ זְרֹעֹותֶֽיהָ׃
Chagrah v'oz motneiha vat'ametz zro'oteiha
She girds her loins in strength, and makes her arms strong.
טָעֲמָה כִּי־טֹוב סַחְרָהּ לֹֽא־יִכְבֶּה [בַלַּיִל כ]
(בַלַּיְלָה ק) נֵרָֽהּ׃
Ta'amah ki tov sachrah lo yichbeh balailah nerah
She knows that her merchandise is good. Her candle does not go out at night.
יָדֶיהָ שִׁלְּחָה בַכִּישֹׁור
וְכַפֶּיהָ תָּמְכוּ פָֽלֶךְ׃
Yadeha shilchah vakishor v'chapeiha tamchu felech
She sets her hands to the distaff, and holds the spindle in her hands.
פָּרְשָׂה לֶעָנִי וְיָדֶיהָ שִׁלְּחָה לָֽאֶבְיֹֽון׃
Kapah parsah le'ani v'yadeiha shil'chah la'evyon
She extends her hands to the poor, and reaches out her hand to the needy.
לְבֵיתָהּ מִשָּׁלֶג כִּי כָל־בֵּיתָהּ לָבֻשׁ שָׁנִֽים׃
Lo tira l'vetah mishaleg ki chol betah lavush shanim
She fears not for her household because of snow, because her whole household is warmly dressed.
עָֽשְׂתָה־לָּהּ שֵׁשׁ וְאַרְגָּמָן לְבוּשָֽׁהּ׃
Marvadim astah lah shesh v'argaman l'vushah
She makes covers for herself, her clothing is fine linen and purple.
נֹודָע בַּשְּׁעָרִים בַּעְלָהּ בְּשִׁבְתֹּו
Noda bash'arim ba'lah b'shivto im ziknei aretz
Her husband is known at the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.
עָשְׂתָה וַתִּמְכֹּר וַחֲגֹור נָתְנָה לַֽכְּנַעֲנִֽי׃
Sadin astah vatimkor vachagor natnah lak'na'ani
She makes a cloak and sells it, and she delivers aprons to the merchant.
לְבוּשָׁהּ וַתִּשְׂחַק לְיֹום אַחֲרֹֽון׃
Oz v'hadar l'vushah vatischak l'yom acharon
Strength and honor are her clothing, and she shall rejoice in time to come.
פיה פתחה בחכמה ותורת־חסד על־לשׁונה׃
Piha patchah v'chochma v'torat chesed al l'shonah
She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the lesson of kindness is on her tongue.
פָּתְחָה בְחָכְמָה וְתֹֽורַת־חֶסֶד עַל־לְשֹׁונָֽהּ׃
Tzofi'ah halichot betah v'lechem atzlut lo tochel
She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.
צֹופִיָּה הֲלִיכֹות בֵּיתָהּ
וְלֶחֶם עַצְלוּת לֹא תֹאכֵֽל׃
Kamu vaneha vay'ash'ruha ba'lah vay'hal'lah
Her children rise and praise her, her husband lauds her.
רַבֹּות בָּנֹות עָשׂוּ חָיִל וְאַתְּ עָלִית
Rabot banot asu chayil v'at alit al kulanah
Many women have done worthily, but you surpass them all.
שֶׁקֶר הַחֵן וְהֶבֶל הַיֹּפִי
אִשָּׁה יִרְאַת־יְהוָה הִיא תִתְהַלָּֽל׃
Sheker hachen v'hevel hayofi ishah yir'at Hashem hi tit'halal
Charm is deceptive and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears יְהוֹוָה shall be praised.
תְּנוּ־לָהּ מִפְּרִי יָדֶיהָ וִֽיהַלְלוּהָ בַשְּׁעָרִים
T'nu lah mip'ri yadeiha vihal'luha vash'arim ma'aseha
Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.
passage is one of the thirteen alpabetical acrostic
poems in Scripture (An acrostic (Greek:
stíchos "verse") is a poem or other form of
writing in which the first letter, syllable or word of
each line, paragraph or other recurring feature in the
text spells out a word or a message) .The virtuous wife
is analogous to the Torah, serving a similar purpose of
bringing us success both now and in the future.
Chayil - Valor/Virtue,encompasses many characteristics such as: self control, diplomacy, foresight, responsibility, patience, loyalty, industrious, kindliness, selflessness, and creative talent,as we see in these twenty-two verses.
In addition, the root
of the word eishes, eish, which means fire. Thus, eishes
chayil, is a
woman who is charged with a fiery love of יְהוֹוָה
law, her אישׁ 'ı̂ysh
(husband), and her משׁפּחה
The numerical equivalent (gematriah) of the word chayil is forty-eight, which corresponds to the forty-eight qualities that are essential in the law or Torah.
Mi Yimtza - Who Can Find?alludes
to Bereishis (Genesis) 2:20, where the Torah teaches
that there was a search to find a helpmate for Adam.
First יְהוֹוָה said
(2:18): "It is not good for man to be alone; I shall
make for him a congruent helpmate." We then find an
unsuccessful search amongst all of the creatures that יְהוֹוָהhad
created, until the Scripture concludes: "there
was not found an help meet for him"/ "there
was not found a helper for him, as his
counterpart. "/"And for the man he
did not find
a congruent helpmate. "
It would appear that אדםaw-dawm' Adam was being prepared for a אשּׁהish-shaw' wife. The Creator employed a process of having Adam go in a quest through the creatures that had been created to indicate the need for an appropriate mate. If חוּה chavvâh Eve had been offered as a אשּׁה ish-shaw' wife without sufficient introduction, Adam may have considered her an encumbrance or a rival. Every benefit is always appreciated more fully if it arrives after its need is felt.
This may be a reason why יְהוֹוָה seems to withhold from some people their finding of the “right one” for a long time. They should contemplate the need for a אשּׁה ish-shaw' wife and sincerely request יְהוֹוָה’s assistance in their quest.
As Mishlei (Proverbs) 18:22 sums up this matter: “He who finds a wife finds good, and he obtains favor from יְהוֹוָה!”
Her Value Is Far Greater than Rubies [Pearls, jewels] now makes the connection to the first part of the verse obvious. After a search, one realizes that a wife is far more valuable than all of the possible wealth in the world.
Generally there is a tendency to misjudge the value of the marriage relationship. One may feel if he had made enough money, he could buy most of the services that would be needed and manage without marriage. But יְהוֹוָה knows better. “It is not good for man to be alone!” A wife is the “good” helpmate, that is the greatest earthly find he will ever discover. Let him make the best of it and utilize the opportunity fully by appreciating הוֹוָה’s gift to him in fulfillment of the verse: ‘Rejoice with the wife of your youth” Mishlei (Proverbs)5:18. If you have the right attitude and you work on understanding and appreciating יְהוֹוָה’s ways, you will have cause to rejoice endlessly. However, one who rejects a pious and wise woman fails the test and loses the greatest wealth.
This verse obligates us
to continuously pray to יְהוֹוָה
for assistance in “finding.”
Tehillim (Psalms) 32:6 teaches: "For this shall every
one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou
mayest be found/
Let every pious person pray to You at a time of
Gemara (from Aramaic גמרא gamar; literally, "[to]
study" or "learning by tradition")(Berachos/brachot
[blessings] 8a) explains: “At the time of finding a
wife.” Thus, we must pray first to find the right
partner and then continue to pray all of our lives that
we should appreciate the incredible find that יְהוֹוָהhas
provided for us.
“One who found a wife
has found goodness” - Mishlei (Proverbs)18:22
This is puzzling. What is the purpose of the question? The difference lies in the tense of the word “found” or “finding.” The verse in Mishlei (Proverbs) is worded in the past tense, whereas the verse in Koheles (Ecclesiastes) is worded in the present tense. This teaches us that our happiness is in our hands! If we decide to appreciate the great find that יְהוֹוָה has bestowed on us, we are fortunate. However, one who is still seeking for another will find trouble. We must open our eyes and rejoice in what we have been given!
Her husband trusts her wholeheartedly, and (as a result) he does not lack any treasure. 31:11
The word for trust
(bitachon) is usually used in connection with trusting
in יְהוֹוָה. Thus, we
may wonder why this verse considers it appropriate for a
husband to put his trust in his wife?
Thus, man’s reliance on his wife is a directive (mitzvah) of the Torah, which teaches them to form a union. Together, as one unit, they trust solely in יְהוֹוָהwho created them both and made them for each other.
The emphasis that he trusts her with his heart (the heart of her husband doth safely trust in her) indicates that it is not mere logical trust, but one that is deeply rooted in his emotions as well.
The Torah’s emphasis
“They shall be as one flesh” and the Gemara’s expression
“His wife is as his body” (Berachos 24a) indicate that a
husband should consider his wife as actually apart of
himself. Thus, his feelings towards her supersede, in a
certain sense, even his relationship with his parents.
יְהוֹוָה’s gift of a mate is designed to provide countless benefits.
We are expected to
consider the many benefits and to be as appreciative and
excited as one who finds infinite treasure!
She provides him with good and not bad, all the days of her life. 31:12 She is an asset to her husband. She will never intentionally bring harm his way. How do we imagine a person so virtuous as to never cause someone harm? Is she an "saint"? This refers us to the unique capacity inherent in a wife. The Torah reveals יְהוֹוָה’s miracle of a woman in her role as a “helper opposite him” (נגד neged) Bereishis (Genesis) 2:18. Only the Great Designer could fashion a help that serves also as an opposite. A man and his wife perfect each other through their differences. They were not made alike: “Women are a people to themselves”. Each has his/her own ways and attributes, and each is intended by יְהוֹוָהto serve as a test to the other. Each complements the other, so that each one can harmonize and develop his/her potential to the fullest in the service of יְהוֹוָה. Thus, even a contentious wife is a precious gift from Heaven, meant as a test in the service of יְהוֹוָה. When we understand the benefits intended by יְהוֹוָה even from the seeming bad that occurs in this world, we realize that it is not bad at all. A challenge is good, for it helps elevate and perfect a person when he approaches life with the attitudes taught by the Torah.
Let us endeavoured to be living examples, through our marriages.
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from Elohim out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Revelation 21:2
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