© 2015, Robert Saslow Design. All rights reserved.

© 2015, Robert Saslow Design. All rights reserved.

© 2015, Robert Saslow Design. All rights reserved.

© 2015, Robert Saslow Design. All rights reserved.

Eshet chayil

Prayer text detail

Eshet chayil2

Eshet Chayil, translated as Woman of Valor, is the 10th to 31st verses of chapter 31 of the Book of Proverbs which were written sometime between the 10th and 6th centuries BCE. It complements advice in verses 1-9 that King Lemuel’s mother gave to him about virtuous ways of ruling, with details of the attributes of an idealized virtuous woman. It is written as an alphabetical acrostic, each verse beginning with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet, extolling the virtues of the ideal wife and mother.

Eshet Chayil is typically read, either in Hebrew or English, by a husband to his wife at the Shabbat table, prior to the meal. There are a wide variety of English translations, but all reflect the original attributes of an industrious home-maker or perhaps businesswoman of the time. These include examples such as planting a vineyard, weaving cloth, and dressing in scarlet and purple wool. Although reciting a direct translation of the original is a beautiful tradition for many, it can seem insufficiently relevant for others who would otherwise want to extoll the virtues of their wife in more modern terms. Thus, rather than providing yet another translation, our version of the Eshet Chayil attempts to express similar feelings of appreciation for one’s wife, but in language that better reflects the activities of today’s women. We encourage its recitation as-is, or with modification to better reflect one’s own situation and heartfelt appreciation for each man’s own Woman of Valor.

The accompanying Shabbat Blessings provide the essential prayers for Friday evening. They are presented in the preferred order in Hebrew, transliteration and English. The Eshet Chayil may be recited any time before the meal, but typically preceding the blessing over the wine.


EC-1 Spring Shower (pinks and purples)
EC-2 Winter Cloud (browns and grays)
EC-3 Summer Sky (blues and greens)


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