|Eishet Chayil: A Demonstration|
|Written by El Ad Eliovson|
Growing up and to this day, my father follows the custom of his father: to sing Eishet Chayil *every* week as a song of praise to my Mom for all she does all week long, every day, every night, day in, day out.
Eishet Chayil comes from the final chapter of the book of Mishlei, Proverbs. In the book of Proverbs it serves as a metaphor for the relationship of Klal Yisrael as the "spouse" of our Beloved, HaShem Yisborach.
The verses describe how the Woman of Valor:
+ "rises while it is still night to prepare food for her household"
+ "opens her hands to the poor"
+ "anticipates the needs of her household and guides her tongue in the ways of Torah and Chesed"
+ "acquires a field and from the fruit of her handiwork she plants raises a vineyard from it (makes it productive)"
All of the compliments serve as a double-entendre: in Proverbs they describe the good deeds and Avodat HaShem (service of G-d) of the Children of Israel as a wife who serves her spouse, HaShem, faithfully, dutifully and utter devotion. At the same time, as the song is sung by my father and ancestors, these words can be sung by a husband to his wife in thanks, appreciation and recognition of all the infinite good she does for him and the family all day and night, every day, every week, her whole life long.
My brother, Rav Yehoshua Mi'chael sets an example for me whenever I see him sing to his Eishet Chayil. At his own home he sits opposite her at one end of the table, as our table was arranged in our home growing up. When he visits others' homes, he turns to her if he is sitting next to her. When he sings to her, he always looks directly into his wife's eyes while he sings to her. His expression conveys the same heartfelt love today as when he first sang to her the Friday night after they were married. Looking at Yael, I see how she returns his feelings in kind and how much it means to her.
I bless you and I hope you bless me back that we set aside this special time each week to appreciate our wives - and to take this golden opportunity to sing to our Eishet Chayil to let her know how special and dear she and her manifold deeds are to us - and to publicly demonstrate we love her as much or more today as the day we were married.