On Friday evenings, after singing “Shalom Aleichem” and before sitting down to the Shabbat evening meal “A Woman of Valor”, (called Eshet Chayil in Hebrew), is customarily recited.
Eshet Chayil is a twenty-two verse poem with which King Solomon concludes the book of Proverbs. The poem has an acrostic arrangement in which the verses begin with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet in regular order. (For a complete text in Hebrew and a translation, please consult a siddur.)
ESHET CHAYIL – A WOMAN OF VALOR
Selected from Proverbs, Chapter 31
A woman of valor who can find?
She is more precious than rubies.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And because of her he lacks nothing.
She does him good and not evil,
Every day of her life.
She opens her hand to the poor,
She is sensitive to the needy.
She is robed in strength and dignity;
She confidently faces whatever may come.
Her speech reflects wisdom,
Loving kindness guides her tongue.
Her children rise up to call her blessed,
Her husband publicly praises her:
“Many daughters have done superbly,
but you have surpassed them all!”
Charm is an illusion, and so much of beauty is vanity,
But a woman who lives by Gd’s ideals merits true praise.
Place before her the fruit of her hands,
For wherever people gather,
her deeds speak her praise.