Episode 79: Word of the Week: Eshet Chayil

"A woman of valor, who can find? Her worth is far beyond rubies..." So begins a 22-verse acrostic poem from the Book of Proverbs. The poem showers praise on an unnamed woman of valor—eshet chayil, in Hebrew—and is sung in some Jewish families on Friday night before the Shabbat meal. In the final installment of our Word of the Week series, we talk with Rena Nickerson, Miriam Anzovin and Rachel Stomel about the meaning of Eshet Chayil today and their memories of singing it growing up.

This episode includes singing and guitar playing by Julie, Mat, and May Tonti, music by Alicia Jo Rabins (www.aliciajo.com), and the song "Eshet Chayil of Hip Hop" by Lea Kalisch (@leakalisch on Instagram and YouTube, @leakalischentertains on Facebook). 

Released June 14, 2022
  • Mosaic hanging in Rena Nickerson's home, which includes this line from Eshet Chayil: Rabot banot asu chayil v'at alit al'kulanah ("Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all"). Photo courtesy of Rena Nickerson.

  • Rena Nickerson. Photo courtesy of Rena Nickerson. 

  • Rachel Stomel. Photo courtesy of Rachel Stomel. 

  • Talmudic TikTok sensation Miriam Anzovin. Photo courtesy of Miriam Anzovin. 

  • Mosaic containing a verse from Eshet Hayil
  • Rena Nickerson headshot
  • Rachel Stomel standing at a microphone
  • Miriam Anzovin posing with ring light.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Episode 79: Word of the Week: Eshet Chayil." (Viewed on February 7, 2023) <https://jwa.org/podcasts/canwetalk/episode-79-word-week-eshet-chayil>.

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