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Eishet Chayil – Wife For Sale

I came up with a brilliant idea to solve all my financial issues: “A woman of valor, who can find? Far beyond pearls is her value.” Traduttore, Traditore! The translation is slightly inaccurate; “Her price is beyond pearls,” is more faithful. Well, I certainly have found a woman of valor, so all I need to do is sell her and I’ll be set for life! Why else would the verse discuss her “price” or value in such terms?

Perhaps a basic lesson from Adam Smith’s primer on economics found its way into Proverbs: Supply and demand. “Who can find such a woman?” meaning, low supply, therefore, her price increases. It still doesn’t seem to fit in this paean to the perfect wife.

I have found marriage a constant process of discovery. (See “Finding What Was Lost”) I discover more about my wife practically every day. I see new strengths, fresh qualities, and, quite selfishly, I see how dependent my development is on those strengths and qualities. Her “value” constantly increases. I cannot say that she is priceless, because she is more priceless today than she was yesterday. I can only speak of her as being more or beyond; she is far more than I realized when we married, than she was ten years ago, five years ago. She is beyond the woman I knew last year or last month.

He who is privileged to be married to a Woman of Valor, will be on a journey through life with someone who will always be more than she was a short while ago. He will always find the beyond in her, and through her, in himself, and in life.

No wonder the Rambam speaks of love of God by describing the love of a husband for a wife. A man or a woman who is married to someone who is always “more,” will experience life as possibilities. Only such a person can truly love God, Who is Infinite and Beyond. It is only with such love that we can study God’s Infinite Torah.

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