Friday, July 27, 2007
From Alef to Taf
Did you know this?
Ashet Chayil / "A Woman of Valor" is an ode of praise to the righteous woman, written by King Solomon in honor of his mother, Batsheva. The text, from the Book of Proverbs (31:10-31), is a compendium of the many facets of Jewish femininity. While it is beyond the scope of this essay to catalogue the attributes embedded in Ashet Chayil / "A Woman of Valor" the text provides an appropriate point of departure for our essay.
Line by line, Ashet Chayil / "A Woman of Valor," follows the letters of the Hebrew alphabet ("alef-bet"), with each line corresponding to one letter. The "alef-bet" format is Solomon's way of comparing the all-encompassing virtues of the righteous woman to the completeness of the entire alphabet. The deeper significance of the "alef-bet" also finds its way into Ashet Chayil/"A Woman of Valor." Our sages say that God combined the spiritual powers vested in each letter of the "alef-bet" as building blocks for the universe. Through the "alef-bet" structure of his text, Solomon establishes a connection between the creative potential of the Hebrew alphabet and the Jewish woman who like the letters is also a builder - her edifice being the Jewish people.
At the start of the week, I displayed a lovely prayerbook. Today, at the end of the week feast your eyes on these wonderful bookends, perfect for holding your a portion of your Jewish library. These are from Zoe Designs, and are available in black and silver.
I am going on vacation with my family... driving north to see the mishpochah and then a few days of relaxation in the mountains of Virginia (at least that is the plan). Next week, Kathi Gose, a wonderful reader and artist has agreed to fill in for me. The week after that I will post as often as I can. Things should be back to normal around August 13th or so. Be nice to Kathi- she is a righteous woman!