So what is the Aishes Chayil

I was actually thinking of doing a series of posts on the "ideal wife" as described in Mishley. She is not exactly what men may visualize as their ideal when searching for a wife. I didn't yet plan out the posts, but I will address one misconception here in response to the comment that came in on the post do-smart-womem-make-better-wives
Zadok wrote:
"However, not all intelligent men seek the same quality in a wife. An example of the latter is Einstein who divorced his first wife, a student of physics, to marry a housewife type

I think two issues are being mixed here. I don't know anyone who would want to marry someone stupid but I do know many people who would prefer being married to the 'Ashes Chayil' type over the 'career women' type even though they themselves are very into their careers.

I responded to him as follows: Zadok, on what basis, do you take the "Ashes Chayil" as the opposite of the "career type?" She is described as an astute business woman. She is involved in various business, such as textile production -- darsha tzemer upishtein, palech, marvadim astha la, etc. ; procurement -- mimerchak tavi lachma; household management with staff -- chok lena'arotheya; trade with merchant --chagor nasna laknani, sadin ashtha vatimkor; buying real estate -- zamema sade vatikacheuhu; agriculture -- nata karem. She does not merely stay home but sets out to accomplish what she wants for herself and her family. Sounds like she has all the skills and ability of a "career woman" to me.


Zadok said…
I don't think having a successful career is a contradiction to being an Ashes Chayil. However the common current usage of Ashes Chayil usually doesn't bring the 'career woman type' to mind.One can debate the meaning of an 'Ashes Chayil' (I'm indeed unceratin as to what it is) so I'm rephrasing my original comment to say that preferring a housewife over a physicist does not indicate an interest in an unintelligent women, rather it indicates an interest in a wife with a different focus to herself.
Ariella said…
Men sometimes refer to their wives or to the wives of others as their "eshes chayil." But I didn't take that to mean the wife is necessarily a housewife. True, some men do want a housewife type. However, women with no academic type interests do no necessarily make better housewives. I do know women with advanced degrees who also can cook for Shabbos, Yom Tov and even Pesach. And I also know women who have no intellectual aspirations whatsoever and never read a book but also take no interest in cooking, housework, or child care. I really don't know how they occupy their time, other than in going to the takeout place for supper, going out to the bagel place for breakfast, and somewhere else for lunch. They have regular cleaning and babysitting help even though they don't work outside the home.

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