Eishet Chayil: The Loyalty of Israel
King Solomon praised the Children of Israel and said, “A woman of valor, who can find?” The verse is referring specifically to the moment when Israel was sent into exile. The Ministering Angels said to God: “Master of the Universe, when Isreal was settled in their land, they were worshipping idols. How much more so will they continue in their evil ways when they are spread out among the nations!”
“Her husband’s heart trusts in her.” – What did the Holy One, Blessed is He, respond? “I trust that they will not abandon Me and attach to false gods. They will sacrifice everything for Me.
“Not only will they remain faithful, they will bring others close to Me, under the wings of the Divine Presence!
“Look at the Egyptians: I sent ten plagues and they completely fell and were extinguished, as it says, “Extinguished and snuffed out like a piece of burning flax.” (Isaiah 43:17)
“Even the Babylonians fell apart when I began to strike at them. They are gone. They disappeared, as it says, “Behold, this is the land of the Chaldeans, for this nation never used to be here. Assyria founded it for its fleets, they erected its towers; now they destroyed its palaces, it has been made a ruin.” (Isaiah 23:17)
“But the Children of Israel, although I have brought great pain and suffering upon them, they do not allow themselves to be pushed away from Me.
“She does good for him, never evil, all the days of her life.” – The Holy One, Blessed is He, said to the Ministering Angels, ‘Come and I will describe my children’s righteousness to you. I have burdened them with terrible suffering in every generation and every place, and yet, when they speak to Me they say, “You are righteous. We have sinned.’”
This is why King Solomon praises Israel with the Eishet Chayil. (Pesikta Rabbati)
When we sing the Eishet Chayil on Friday night we are celebrating the eternality of Israel and our faithful attachment to God. That bond has been nurtured and strengthened through the Shabbat. We celebrate the empowerment of Israel by the Shabbat and credit our eternal loyalty to God to the influence of Shabbat.