Eshet Chayil A Jewish Song For A Woman Of Valor
The famous Jewish traditional song "Eshet Chayil" in Hebrew or "Woman of Valor" in English, is popular not only among families singing it, but also as a verse inscribed on various Judaica art pieces and Jewish Jewelry pendants and necklaces.
Praising a woman with diverse capabilities inside the house and outside, the song speaks to women and girls of our age as it did to their ancestors as well.
On the surface Eshet Chayil, which consists of the last two verses of King Solomon's Proverbs, is a hymn to ideal wife.
Though, like much of King Solomon's writing, it has meaning beyond this, the song is allegorical, it refers not only to an actual woman but also to Shabbat, the Torah and the Shechinah (the dwelling of the divine on Earth).
This biblical poem employs an archaic form of typography in that it has an acrostic arrangement where the verses begin each with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet in regular order.
Eshet Chayil is sung to a familiar tune on Friday nights, after synagogue, following Shalom Aleichem and before Kiddush.
The words are as follows in Hebrew and English:
Eshet chayil mi yimtza v'rachok mip'ninim michrah
An accomplished woman, who can find? - Far beyond pearls is her value.
Batach bah lev ba'lah v'shalal lo yechsar
Her husband's heart relies on her and he shall lack no fortune.
G'malathu tov v'lo ra kol y'mei chayeiha
She does him good and not evil, all the days of her life.
Darshah tzemer ufishtim vata'as b'chefetz kapeiha
She seeks wool and flax, and works with her hands willingly.
Haitah ko'oniyot socher mimerchak tavi lachmah
She is like th emerchant ships, she brings her bread from afar.
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.
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.
Chagrah v'oz motneiha vat'ametz zro'oteiha
She girds her loins in strenght, and makes her arms stong.
Ta'amah ki tov sachrah lo yichbeh balailah nerah
She knows that her merchandise is good; her candle does not go out at night.
Yadeha shilchah vakishor v'chapeiha tamchu felech
She sets her hands to the distaff, and holds the spindle in her hands.
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.
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.
Marvadim astah lah shesh v'argaman l'vushah
She makes covers for herself, her clothing is fine linen and purple.
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.
Sadin astah vatimkor vachagor natnah lak'na'ani
She makes a cloak and sells it, and she delivers aprons to the merchant.
Oz v'hadar l'vushah vatischak l'yom acharon
Strength and honor are her clothing, she smiles at the future.
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.
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.
Kamu vaneha vay'ash'ruha ba'lah vay'hal'lah
Her children rise and praise her, her husband, too, and he lauds her.
Rabot banot asu chayil v'at alit al kulanah
Many women have have done worthily, but you surpass them all.
Sheker hachen v'hevel hayofi ishah yir'at Hashem hi tit'halal
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears G-d, she shall be praised.
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.