1 The words of Lemuel, king of Massa, with which his mother admonished him:
א דִּבְרֵי לְמוּאֵל מֶלֶךְ מַשָּׂא אֲשֶׁר־יִסְּרַתּוּ אִמּוֹ׃
2 No, my son! No, O son of my womb! No, O son of my vows!
ב מַה־בְּרִי וּמַה־בַּר־בִּטְנִי וּמֶה בַּר־נְדָרָי׃
3 Do not give your strength to women, Your vigor, to those who destroy kings.
ג אַל־תִּתֵּן לַנָּשִׁים חֵילֶךָ וּדְרָכֶיךָ לַמְחוֹת מְלָכִין׃
4 Wine is not for kings, O Lemuel; Not for kings to drink, Nor any strong drink for princes,
ד אַל לַמְלָכִים לְמוֹאֵל אַל לַמְלָכִים שְׁתוֹ־יָיִן וּלְרוֹזְנִים או [אֵי] שֵׁכָר׃
5 Lest they drink and forget what has been ordained, And infringe on the rights of the poor.
ה פֶּן־יִשְׁתֶּה וְיִשְׁכַּח מְחֻקָּק וִישַׁנֶּה דִּין כָּל־בְּנֵי־עֹנִי׃
6 Give strong drink to the hapless And wine to the embittered.
ו תְּנוּ־שֵׁכָר לְאוֹבֵד וְיַיִן לְמָרֵי נָפֶשׁ׃
7 Let them drink and forget their poverty, And put their troubles out of mind.
ז יִשְׁתֶּה וְיִשְׁכַּח רִישׁוֹ וַעֲמָלוֹ לֹא יִזְכָּר־עוֹד׃
8 Speak up for the dumb, For the rights of all the unfortunate.
ח פְּתַח־פִּיךָ לְאִלֵּם אֶל־דִּין כָּל־בְּנֵי חֲלוֹף׃
9 Speak up, judge righteously, Champion the poor and the needy.
ט פְּתַח־פִּיךָ שְׁפָט־צֶדֶק וְדִין עָנִי וְאֶבְיוֹן׃
10 What a rare find is a capable wife! Her worth is far beyond that of rubies.
AY-shet KHA-yil MEE yim-TZA v’-ra-KHOK mi-p’-nee-NEEM mikh-RAH
י אֵשֶׁת־חַיִל מִי יִמְצָא וְרָחֹק מִפְּנִינִים מִכְרָהּ׃
31:10 A capable wife
This chapter contains an extended poem in praise of the eishet chayil, translated here as ‘capable wife,’ but generally referred to as the ‘woman of valor’ (verses 10-31). She provides for her family in all ways, both materially and spiritually, and her endeavors and accomplishments are praised by the members of her household and by others. This poem is sung by Jews around the world on Friday nights, as they begin the first Shabbat meal. It is often understood as a praise for the Jewish woman who works hard to care for her family and for others, and to prepare for the Shabbat each week. On a more mystical plane, it has been said in the name of the sixteenth century Kabbalist Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, who is known by the acronym Arizal, that “the Land of Israel is the earthly manifestation of the woman of valor.” When the Children of Israel follow Hashem faithfully in this unique land, they are provided for, both materially and spiritually. And, the beauty and charm of Eretz Yisrael are recognized and praised by all, Jews and non-Jews alike.1 comment
11 Her husband puts his confidence in her, And lacks no good thing.
יא בָּטַח בָּהּ לֵב בַּעְלָהּ וְשָׁלָל לֹא יֶחְסָר׃
12 She is good to him, never bad, All the days of her life.
יב גְּמָלַתְהוּ טוֹב וְלֹא־רָע כֹּל יְמֵי חַיֶּיה׃
13 She looks for wool and flax, And sets her hand to them with a will.
יג דָּרְשָׁה צֶמֶר וּפִשְׁתִּים וַתַּעַשׂ בְּחֵפֶץ כַּפֶּיהָ׃
14 She is like a merchant fleet, Bringing her food from afar.
יד הָיְתָה כָּאֳנִיּוֹת סוֹחֵר מִמֶּרְחָק תָּבִיא לַחְמָהּ׃
15 She rises while it is still night, And supplies provisions for her household, The daily fare of her maids.
טו וַתָּקָם בְּעוֹד לַיְלָה וַתִּתֵּן טֶרֶף לְבֵיתָהּ וְחֹק לְנַעֲרֹתֶיהָ׃
16 She sets her mind on an estate and acquires it; She plants a vineyard by her own labors.
טז זָמְמָה שָׂדֶה וַתִּקָּחֵהוּ מִפְּרִי כַפֶּיהָ נטע [נָטְעָה] כָּרֶם׃
17 She girds herself with strength, And performs her tasks with vigor.
יז חָגְרָה בְעוֹז מָתְנֶיהָ וַתְּאַמֵּץ זְרֹעוֹתֶיהָ׃
18 She sees that her business thrives; Her lamp never goes out at night.
יח טָעֲמָה כִּי־טוֹב סַחְרָהּ לֹא־יִכְבֶּה בליל [בַלַּיְלָה] נֵרָהּ׃
19 She sets her hand to the distaff; Her fingers work the spindle.
יט יָדֶיהָ שִׁלְּחָה בַכִּישׁוֹר וְכַפֶּיהָ תָּמְכוּ פָלֶךְ׃
20 She gives generously to the poor; Her hands are stretched out to the needy.
כ כַּפָּהּ פָּרְשָׂה לֶעָנִי וְיָדֶיהָ שִׁלְּחָה לָאֶבְיוֹן׃
21 She is not worried for her household because of snow, For her whole household is dressed in crimson.
כא לֹא־תִירָא לְבֵיתָהּ מִשָּׁלֶג כִּי כָל־בֵּיתָהּ לָבֻשׁ שָׁנִים׃
22 She makes covers for herself; Her clothing is linen and purple.
כב מַרְבַדִּים עָשְׂתָה־לָּהּ שֵׁשׁ וְאַרְגָּמָן לְבוּשָׁהּ׃
23 Her husband is prominent in the gates, As he sits among the elders of the land.
כג נוֹדָע בַּשְּׁעָרִים בַּעְלָהּ בְּשִׁבְתּוֹ עִם־זִקְנֵי־אָרֶץ׃
24 She makes cloth and sells it, And offers a girdle to the merchant.
כד סָדִין עָשְׂתָה וַתִּמְכֹּר וַחֲגוֹר נָתְנָה לַכְּנַעֲנִי׃
25 She is clothed with strength and splendor; She looks to the future cheerfully.
כה עֹז־וְהָדָר לְבוּשָׁהּ וַתִּשְׂחַק לְיוֹם אַחֲרוֹן׃
26 Her mouth is full of wisdom, Her tongue with kindly teaching.
כו פִּיהָ פָּתְחָה בְחָכְמָה וְתוֹרַת־חֶסֶד עַל־לְשׁוֹנָהּ׃
27 She oversees the activities of her household And never eats the bread of idleness.
כז צוֹפִיָּה הֲלִיכוֹת בֵּיתָהּ וְלֶחֶם עַצְלוּת לֹא תֹאכֵל׃
28 Her children declare her happy; Her husband praises her,
כח קָמוּ בָנֶיהָ וַיְאַשְּׁרוּהָ בַּעְלָהּ וַיְהַלְלָהּ׃
29 “Many women have done well, But you surpass them all.”
כט רַבּוֹת בָּנוֹת עָשׂוּ חָיִל וְאַתְּ עָלִית עַל־כֻּלָּנָה׃
30 Grace is deceptive, Beauty is illusory; It is for her fear of Hashem That a woman is to be praised.
ל שֶׁקֶר הַחֵן וְהֶבֶל הַיֹּפִי אִשָּׁה יִרְאַת־יְהֹוָה הִיא תִתְהַלָּל׃
31 Extol her for the fruit of her hand, And let her works praise her in the gates.
לא תְּנוּ־לָהּ מִפְּרִי יָדֶיהָ וִיהַלְלוּהָ בַשְּׁעָרִים מַעֲשֶׂיהָ׃