Wednesday, 23 June 2021
Question of the day: Ayshet Chyil, Mi Yimtzah? (The first Hebrew words of Proverbs 31:10) What does that really mean?
Answer: The usual translation is, "A woman of valor, who can find?" It is the first words of the last 22 verses of Proverbs 31, which ends the book. Those verses describe the virtuous woman. Ayshet is the word for "woman." Mi Yimtzah are the words for "who will find?" That means that we will spend the rest of today explaining Chayil, which is not so straightforward.
Chayil (Shoresh Chet-Yud-Lamed) means strength. First of all, the Proverbs 31 woman is strong. In what sense, though, is she strong? We read about her strength in all the rest of the chapter. She has strength of character and integrity. Her strength comes from God and she has enough to share her strength with others.
This Hebrew word is also used to describe success. Ayshet Chayil is a woman of success. Success is not a destination, but a path of continual victory. The world wants to knock us off the path of victory, but the Ayshet Chayil uses power from God to continue on the path of success.
Lastly, this same word is used to describe a soldier. In what sense is an Ayshet Chayil a woman soldier? First, she is in the Lord's army. Secondly, she is disciplined. Lives are at risk. Not following God's instructions (military orders) needlessly puts both her and her family at risk.
One thing soldiers do is hold the line. Their part of the line of defense is secure. Beyond defense, an army attacks the enemy. The only weapon we have to use in attacking the enemy is the Word of God, which is also called the sword of the spirit (Hebrews 4:12). Satan has stolen what belongs to God. It is God's people who will take back what the enemy has stolen. Isaiah 54:17a "No weapon formed against you will prosper."
Rabbi Michael Weiner,