Monday, March 8, 2010

Crib Note - Eschet Who?

The thing about Steve -- he's coachable. But I didn't always know this. Mostly because I never tried coaching him. Instead I would do most things myself. And then complain about it. Like a martyr. Sound familiar?

That changed last year. I needed help. He needed penance. So I started asking. Mostly for things that I never liked doing. Like emptying the dishwasher. Cooking (and cleaning up) breakfast on the weekends. Dropping off at preschool. And he was really good at these things. Maybe even empowered that I had finally given up a little control. That he could help.

One day last summer I was flipping through an Anita Diamant book searching for the shabbat blessing of the children -- no doubt in a fit of "mom guilt." And what was beneath the blessing of the children? Blessing of the spouse. Now we're talking. According to the ancient custom, a husband reads or chants to his wife a section from the book of Proverbs called Eschet Chayil. I looked it up. It's long, but it reads in part:

"She invests herself with strength… she opens her hand to the poor and reaches out to the needy…she is robed in strength and dignity and she smiles at the future…give her credit for the fruit of her labor and let her achievements praise her at the gates." (Proverbs 31: 10-31)

Seriously? Am I dreaming? How had I missed this before.

That night before Shabbat I coyly pushed the portion of Proverbs across the table. And I coached him. You don't have to chant the whole thing. Just say "eschet chayil." I'll know what you mean.

So he read it. And he repeated the two words. And then I said "I love you."

That was the first and last time I ever pushed the portion across the table. But every Friday night he says his piece and I say mine. Two words, but we both know what they mean.

And now so do you.

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