Eshet Chayil: Life Nurturer
“She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Well, she certainly isn’t Eve! The wife has been taking the blame for Adam’s fall even before the Council of Nicaea. No wonder our selection of the Proverb begins with, “Who can find such a Woman of Valor?” It’s appropriate to find this verse in Abraham’s eulogy for Sarah, who was understood to be the Tikkun, or, the repair, of Eve. However, we must ask whether a woman is considered to be an Eshet Chayil only if she lives at Sarah’s level.
The key to this verse lies in the Hebrew for “Does him good,” which is, “Gimalathu Tov,” from the word “Gomeil,” to wean or make independent, as in “Gomeil chasadim tovim,” God makes us independent through His Chesed which is “good and not evil.” The verse describes a woman who pushes her husband to master himself, to emulate his Creator, and be as independent as a created being can possibly be. “All the days of her life,” for her quest to nurture her husband is unceasing all the days of her life.
The Eshet Chayil, who teaches her husband to live a life of discovery, (See “Wife for Sale”) and who provides a home that is an expression of their relationship with God (See “The Benefits of Trust”), lives each day of her life, as did Sarah. She appreciates the opportunities of each day, and imbued her home with that sense of possibility. Lives.Nothing is as it was the day before. Everything is constantly fresh and filled with promise.
A life lived every day is a fixing of the sin in Eden, which brought death, meaning, we constantly battle the limitations of our mortal lives. The life lived by the Eshet Chayil is a life of constant expansion, “Tov,” and is real life without the taste of death from the Tree of Knowledge. This was Sarah’s repair of the sin, accessible to all who choose to live as “Gomlim,” life-nurturers, every day of their lives.