Saturday, November 14, 2015

Women of Virtue

This week's Torah portion comes from Genesis 23:1 to 25:18, titled Chayei Sara or "The Life of Sarah."

Sarah, Abraham's wife, may seem to us to be a very flawed woman. She was impatient, full of doubt, less than kind, and acted as if she were blameless. Yet the book of Hebrews calls her a woman of faith.

Hebrews 11:11 (KJV)
11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.

Just as we found about "righteous" Lot, Sarah was not a perfect example of faith. Yet God deemed her faithful and was used as an example of a faithful woman. This should give believing women hope and encouragement that even though we are not perfect, God can use us and view us as faithful women!

Proverbs 31:10-31 is a description of the Eshet Chayil, the woman of virtue. This passage is sung or read by the husband over his wife during the Erev Shabbat, the candle lighting service at the beginning of the Sabbath. It is a call for believing women to become virtuous by their actions. Let us strive to follow after Sarah's example of faith and the ideal captured in Proverbs 31!

Proverbs 31:10-31 (KJV)
10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

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