אשת חיל, Woman of Valor, King Soloman’s praise of women as the personification of wisdom, is an integral part of the Friday evening service


  •  Preparation for celebrating the Jewish Sabbath begins with cleaning the house.
  • The Biblical injunction to celebrate the Sabbath comes from the following paragraph in Genesis 2-1-4:
  • “The heaven and the earth were finished, and all their array. And on the seventh day God finished the work which He had been doing, and He ceased on the seventh day from all the work which He had done. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because on it God ceased from all the work of creation which He had done. Such is the story of heaven and earth as they were created.”
  • From the Jewish Publication Society’s landmark translation in the 1950s on which my mother participated.
  • The Sabbath begins on Friday night at sundown, when candles are lit.
  • Candle lighting time for Lisbon, Portugal is shown in the following: link: http://www.chabad.org/calendar/candleLighting_cdo/c/297/jewish/Candle-Lighting.htm
  • This is candle lighting time for Williamsport PA, US: http://www.chabad.org/calendar/candleLighting_cdo/z/16801/jewish/Candle-Lighting.htm
  • Following the lighting of the candles:
  • A prayer is made over wine and you drink the wine
  • A blessing is made over bread and you eat the bread
  • You sit down at the dinner table and prepare to greet the Sabbath.
  • By tradition, the Sabbath is greeted as if she were a bride coming to the altar to say her wedding vows.
  • Before eating, the man of the house seated recites to his woman Solomon’s praise of women from Proverbs Chapter 31, v. 10-31.


© Mickie Caspi, All rights reserved. I am grateful for her permission. If you too recite King Soloman's praise to a woman whose price is above rubies, consider sending her Mickie's marvelous image. Her website - http://www.caspicards.com/buy/art-nouveau-woman-of-valor/


  • According the The New Oxford Annotated Bible: “Woman Wisdom is not just the embodiment of any young woman a man would seek as a wife , but she is also described in cosmic terms as having been present with God during creation.”
  • The most beautiful translation of the Bible [albeit, flawed with inaccuracies] is the King James version herein on Eisheth Ḥayil:
  • 10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.

    25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

    26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

    27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

    28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

    29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.

    30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.

    31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

  • Here is the Hebrew with vowels:

אֵֽשֶׁת חַֽיִל מִי יִמְצָא, וְרָחֹק מִפְּנִינִים מִכְרָהּ.

  • בָּֽטַח בָּהּ לֵב בַּעְלָהּ, וְשָׁלָל לֹא יֶחְסָר.

    גְּמָלַֽתְהוּ טוֹב וְלֹא רָע, כֹּל יְמֵי חַיֶּֽיהָ.

    דָּרְשָׁה צֶֽמֶר וּפִשְׁתִּים, וַתַּֽעַשׂ בְּחֵֽפֶץ כַּפֶּֽיהָ.

    הָיְתָה כָּאֳנִיּוֹת סוֹחֵר, מִמֶּרְחָק תָּבִיא לַחְמָהּ.

    וַתָּֽקָם בְּעוֹד לַֽיְלָה, וַתִּתֵּן טֶֽרֶף לְבֵיתָהּ, וְחֹק לְנַעֲרֹתֶֽיהָ.

    זָמְמָה שָׂדֶה וַתִּקָּחֵֽהוּ, מִפְּרִי כַפֶּֽיהָ נָֽטְעָה כָּֽרֶם.

    חָגְרָה בְעֹז מָתְנֶֽיהָ, וַתְּאַמֵּץ זְרוֹעֹתֶֽיהָ.

    טָעֲמָה כִּי טוֹב סַחְרָהּ, לֹא יִכְבֶּה בַלַּֽיְלָה נֵרָהּ.

    יָדֶֽיהָ שִׁלְּחָה בַכִּישׁוֹר, וְכַפֶּֽיהָ תָּֽמְכוּ פָֽלֶךְ.

    כַּפָּהּ פָּרְשָׂה לֶעָנִי, וְיָדֶֽיהָ שִׁלְּחָה לָאֶבְיוֹן.

    לֹא תִירָא לְבֵיתָהּ מִשָּֽׁלֶג, כִּי כָל בֵּיתָהּ לָבֻשׁ שָׁנִים.

    מַרְבַדִּים עָֽשְׂתָה לָּהּ, שֵׁשׁ וְאַרְגָּמָן לְבוּשָׁהּ.

    נוֹדָע בַּשְּׁעָרִים בַּעְלָהּ, בְּשִׁבְתּוֹ עִם זִקְנֵי אָֽרֶץ.

    סָדִין עָשְׂתָה וַתִּמְכֹּר, וַחֲגוֹר נָתְנָה לַכְּנַעֲנִי.

    עֹז וְהָדָר לְבוּשָׁהּ, וַתִּשְׂחַק לְיוֹם אַחֲרוֹן.

    פִּֽיהָ פָּתְחָה בְחָכְמָה, וְתֽוֹרַת חֶֽסֶד עַל לְשׁוֹנָהּ.

    צוֹפִיָּה הֲלִיכוֹת בֵּיתָהּ, וְלֶֽחֶם עַצְלוּת לֹא תֹאכֵל.

    קָֽמוּ בָנֶֽיהָ וַיְאַשְּׁרֽוּהָ, בַּעְלָהּ וַיְהַלְלָהּ.

    רַבּוֹת בָּנוֹת עָֽשׂוּ חָֽיִל, וְאַתְּ עָלִית עַל כֻּלָּֽנָה.

    שֶֽׁקֶר הַחֵן וְהֶֽבֶל הַיֹּֽפִי, אִשָּׁה יִרְאַת יְיָ הִיא תִתְהַלָּל.

    תְּנוּ לָהּ מִפְּרִי יָדֶֽיהָ, וִיהַלְלֽוּהָ בַשְּׁעָרִים


For Spanish, see above video.


N.B.: Following the recitation of Eisheth Ḥayil, one eats, sings, and celebrates the Sabbath with joy.


Copyright 2014 by Joel Solkoff. All rights reserved.