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Appreciation and Motivation: Introduction 1 – The Aishes Chayil Style

Posted by Rabbi Yosef Tropper
September 28th, 2010
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This entry is part 1 of 57 in the series The Aishes Chayil Style

It was a security question that would linger in my mind for years to come… While checking in for my first ever El Al flight to Israel, I answered all of the typical security probes. Next came the bonus round. I later found out that El Al was famous     for their Jewish culture questions which they apparently developed for added security purposes.

“Why do you sing Aishes Chayil on Friday night?” the Israeli security officer asked. I’m a Yeshiva guy, I thought, how am I supposed to know this?! Well, I had to come up with something in order to proceed to my gate and so I responded: “I sing it for my mother!” There, now that should prove that I’m not a terrorist! As I walked through customs, the question lingered in my mind; it bothered me that I had nothing intelligent to say and so I made a note-to-self: look into Aishes Chayil. Well, here is what I came up with….

I am so excited about this new series, there is so much beauty and wisdom expressed in King Solomon’s words. Aishes Chayil is a sacred poem that sings the praises of the often unsung heroes of the Jewish nation. Please join me as we strive to uncover and develop the lessons which will inspire us as men, woman and members of the Jewish nation! As you shall soon see, this is a series written for everyone! Sometimes I will express direct applications of ideas and other times I will leave it up to you to determine the meaning that can be applied to your life.

As far as format, I hope to cover one verse per every two to four posts. But to begin I feel that it is important to present a few introductions that will cover some vital underlining themes.

So, why do we sing Aishes Chayil on Friday night?

The simplest answer (sorry El Al, you now have to change your security question) is to show gratitude to the woman of the house who lead the preparations for Shabbos. She is likely tired and over-worked and deserves our sincere thanks!

Rabbi Eliyahu Lopian zt”l (1872-1970) recounted a great mystery which he set out to solve. When he first came to learn under the Alter of Kelm, Rabbi Simcha Zissel Ziv Broida zt”l (1824-98), he was in awe of the Alter’s wife. Rebbetzin Chaya Leah appeared to be a superwoman! She cooked, cleaned, cared for her three children and at the same time was dedicated to every need of the Yeshiva as well. How did she do so much and maintain her enthusiasm and vigor?!

This enigma was solved the first time that young Eliyahu was invited for a Shabbos meal. When they entered the house after Shul on Friday night, the Alter gave his wife a magnificently warm greeting and enumerated to her all of the appreciation he had for her hard work to organize, cook and care for the family’s needs. She was beaming. After making Kiddish and HaMotzie, the Alter smiled at the Rebbetzin and told her that her Challah was the sweetest and most delicious that he had ever tasted. The pride and joy found on the Rebbetzin’s face explained everything to Rabbi Lopian. When someone feels truly appreciated, recognized and validated, they experience a magical surge of energy that inspires them to continue their great accomplishments. That joy and fulfillment is truly powerful.

So why do you sing Aishes Chayil on Friday night?!


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