Shaddai

Learn Hebrew

Blessings Book
with Audio CD

Hebrew for Christians
BS''D
Eshet Chayil - a Woman of Valor

Eshet Chayil -

Praising a Woman of Valor

Please be patient as sound files load . . .

Printer-Friendly PDF

Eshet Chayil (“a woman of valor”) consists of the concluding section of the book of Proverbs (31:10-31). On the surface, Eshet Chayil appears to be a eulogy to the “perfect wife,” though most commentators believe it represents an idealized allegory, variously interpreted to refer to the Shechinah, Shabbat itself, the Torah, wisdom, or the soul.

Eshet Chayil

The Hebrew word eshet is the construct form of isha (woman), and chayil connotes bravery (Ps. 76:6); capability (Prov. 12:4); triumph (Ps. 118:15); a rampart (Ps. 84:8); or wealth (Prov.13:22). The eshet chayil then represents virtues of courage and strength.

Traditionally, this entire passage is recited by the husband before Kiddush on Friday evenings. After the Shabbat candles are lit (but before the meal is eaten), the wife is praised and the children are then blessed.

This poem displays an acrostic arrangement (i.e., Aleph, Bet, Gimmel) so that the verses begin with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet in regular order:

Eshet Chayil - Aleph

Eshet-chayil mi yimtza v'rachok mip'ninim mikhrah
A woman of valor who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.

Eshet Chayil - Bet

Batach bah lev ba'lah v'shalal lo yechsar
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.

Eshet Chayil - Gimmel

G'malat-hu tov v'lo-ra kol y'mei chayeha
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.

Eshet Chayil - Dalet

Darshah tzemer ufishtim vata'as b'chefetz kapeiha
She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.

Eshet Chayil - Hey

Haitah ko'oniyot socher mimerchak tavi lachmah
She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.

Eshet Chayil - Vav

Vatakom b'od lailah vatiten teref l'vetah v'chok l'na'aroteiha
She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.

Eshet Chayil - Zayin

Zam'mah sadeh vatikachehu mip'ri chapeiha nat'ah karem
She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.

Eshet Chayil - Chet

Chagrah v'oz motneiha vat'ametz z'ro'oteiha
She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.

Eshet Chayil - Tet

Ta'amah ki-tov sachrah lo yichbeh balailah nerah
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.

Eshet Chayil - Yod

Yadeha shilchah vakishor v'chapeiha tamchu felech
She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.

Eshet Chayil - Kaf

Kapah parsah le'ani v'yadeiha shil'chah la'evyon
She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.

Eshet Chayil - Lamed

Lo-tira l'vetah mishaleg ki chol-betah lavush shanim
She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.

Eshet Chayil - Mem

Marvadim astah-lah shesh v'argaman l'vushah
She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.

Eshet Chayil - Nun

Noda bash'arim ba'lah b'shivto im-ziknei-aretz
Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.

Eshet Chayil - Samekh

Sadin astah vatimkor vachagor natnah lak'na'ani
She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant.

Eshet Chayil - Ayin

Oz-v'hadar l'vushah vatischak l'yom acharon
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.

Eshet Chayil - Pey

Piha patchah v'chochma v'torat chesed al-l'shonah
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

Eshet Chayil - Tsade

Tzofi'ah halichot betah v'lechem atzlut lo tochel
She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Eshet Chayil - Qof

Kamu vaneha vay'ash'ruha ba'lah vay'hal'lah
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:

Eshet Chayil - Resh

Rabot banot asu chayil v'at alit al-kulanah
"Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all."

Eshet Chayil - Shin

Sheker hachen v'hevel hayofi ishah yir'at-Adonai hi tit'halal
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Eshet Chayil - Tav

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.

Eshet Chayil - A Woman of Valor

A woman of valor who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
"Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all."
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.

Eshet Chayil

<< Return

Hebrew for Christians
Copyright © John J. Parsons
All rights reserved.

email