***Note. Today during our weekly Torah study, we examined the end of Proverbs and the passage famously known as the Woman of Valour, or the Eyshet Chayil. The poem has been debated for generations as to how it should be accepted or denied by both women and men. It is my argument that in order for it to have relevance in a modern context, it is badly in need of a rewrite and reinterpretation for the time we live in today. And...so...I rewrote it. For me. It may or may not speak to you but I feel that if we are to find value in ancient texts, we need to add to them rather than reflexively dismiss them. If you would like to read the original, it is Proverbs 31:10-31. Thank you to Rabbi Streiffer for his compassionate class today and to my fellow Torah study regulars for their wisdom. It is appreciated.
A woman of valour today is not rare nor is she fleeting. She is found in the face and soul of every woman.
She doesn't allow her value to be determined by her partner nor by anybody else. She alone is the determinator of her worth.
She is independent and confident and she measures her success by the company she keeps, the love in her heart, and the creativity of her own mind. She may choose to share her life with others or she may choose to walk her path alone.
She instinctively understands those things in the world that fill her with joy and brings her pleasure and she turns away from those who would defeat her dreams or harm her sense of self.
A woman of valour today engages in prolonged spurts of creativity and channels her artistry with a unique vision.
She grasps that her trajectory in life is hers to pursue and hers alone. She doesn't impose her preferences on other women, nor does she judge them for their choices.
A woman of valour today finds a balance between spiritual health and physical health. She feeds both her intellect and her emotions. She struggles with the precariousness of the equilibrium between the things she must do and the things she longs to do. She forgives herself when she fails.
She finds passion in her life's choices and she succeeds when she accepts both her talents and her limitations.
She is comfortable with her own sexuality and her agency is her own.
She recognizes that hers is often a place of privilege and that engaging in Tikkun Olam is her obligation.
She finds peace in the comfort of her family and those whom she loves. Her home is her sacred space and she refreshes herself within its walls. She looks to her husband, wife, or partner for sustenance and she provides it in kind.
She is encouraging of other women and she acts as a mentor to those who are struggling and coming up behind her.
The woman of valour today embraces her wrinkles, grey hairs, and other signs of aging as they are born out of wisdom and hard experience.
She doesn't take more than she needs from the earth and she strives to care diligently for God's world.
The woman of valour today nurtures the relationships in her life with care and compassion; be they her spouse, her children, her friends, or herself. She cannot strive to help them achieve their own happiness until she herself is at peace.
She surrounds herself with a support system, a collective of like-minded women who will be there for her in times of need, and she for them. She will lift up the voices of these women so they are louder than her own.
A woman of valour today knows that all the people have value and that she must listen to them with attentiveness and compassion. Her pride in all that she does and for all whom she loves is boundless.