How My Version of Aishes Chayil was Declared Inaccurate By My Teacher

This post is from Semi-BY Girl, aka Fisch. 

Rebbetzin Hertz was a very pious woman who saw her goal in life as educating the future generation of Bais Yaakov girls on how to be a true Bas Yisrael. But more importantly, she worked as a teacher so that she can continue to support her husband in his full time learning (as she had been for the past several decades.)

She led her life according to these ideals; always taking the extra mile in tznius, hashkafa etc. of course to match this profile, the subjects that she taught in school were things like Aishes Chayil and other similar texts which she used to instruct others on how to follow her path.

So on this fine day there I was at the receiving end of a droning lesson about true Nshei Chayil when I hear my pasuk. My pasuk, as in the pasuk I say in Shmone Esrei — you know the one that starts and ends with the same letters as your name?

I was always very proud of my pasuk: “Chagra Baoz Masneha Vateametz Zeroaseha” – “She girded her loins and strengthened her arms” – all words associated with battle. I don’t know much about the Aishes Chayil but if she moonlights as a strong female warrior who fights for her rights and the good of humanity…  I’m all in.

I’ve always felt very connected to this Pasuk. What a perfect succinct description of my essence — challah baker by day, secret military by night…. No, just kidding. More like I’m a staunch believer in whatever I believe in and willing to stand up for it.

Anyway: the idea of the militant Aishes Chayil. This seemed antithetical to what I presumed Rebetzin Hertz had spent her whole lecture telling us about. Most likely, according to Rebetzin Hertz, the Aishes Chayil was a demure, aidel pre-bais Yaakov Bais Yaakov girl who had her top button closed even higher then Rebetzin Hertz’s. With this constant risk of asphyxiation, how could she be out fighting wars?

So I raised my hand to clarify.

I did this with the appropriate, innocent, bewildered expression that I knew from experience would let me get away with any outlandish or potentially offensive questions.

“Yes?” Rebetzin Hertz asked, not looking thrilled at being interrupted. I’m sure she thought that it was doubtful that my question was worth precious time that she can be using to Bais Yaakov-ize.

“Well I was just wondering, how would the Aishes Chayil be going out to fight war? Wouldn’t that go against tznius?”


“Of course,” Rebetzin Hertz stated confidently. “She’s not going out to fight war,” she said, dismissing the idea as ludicrous. “This refers to the true fight we all have. She’s fighting her Yetzer Harah.”

And that’s how my warring role model got transformed into the ideal bais Yaakov girl.

Stay tuned for when I asked her what’s wrong with college.

(Additional note: I truly value Torah learning and think that those who can really do it full time are amazing and truly worth being supported.)

How My Version of Aishes Chayil was Declared Inaccurate By My Teacher

2 thoughts on “How My Version of Aishes Chayil was Declared Inaccurate By My Teacher

  1. My husband started saying Aishes Chayil when we were newlyweds (38 years ago) and stopped dead. “This is about a woman who goes out to work to support her husband in Kollel.” he declared. “I can’t say this.” Instead, every Friday night for 38 years, he has listed the things I did all week that he appreciates. The kids will often chime in. AIshes chayil sometimes gets so involved we have to break for hamotzei and continue it over the meal. When we hosted our Rav, and my husband apologetically explained our deviation from standard ritual, the Rav said, “That’s a real ‘aishes chayil’.”

    Liked by 1 person

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