By Kevin Leland
This beautiful print was created by Naomi Teplow. Naomi is an Israeli artist who lives in America. Among other works, Naomi creates Ketubot (this is the plural, in Hebrew pronunciation, of Ketubah) A Ketubah is an ancient prenup of sorts. Yes, by prenup I am referring to the contract written before some marriages, formally called a prenuptial agreement. For the people that live on the wealthy side of the tracks, in western culture, usually anything to do with a written contract supplementing the “let’s share everything until we die” vows, is considered a sore spot.
In Jewish tradition a Ketubot is looked at as a romantic and important piece of the wedding ceremony. It is central to the ceremony. Naomi creates these documents in vivid colors, depicting scenes from nature in a very symmetrical layout that borders the Hebrew writing that outlines the traditional and formal legal terms of the Ketubah.
Every man desires to marry a woman that is going to stick to the deal for the long haul. Naturally, a woman expects the same from her husband-to-be, even when the deal is not written, but spoken as vows before witnesses. But for those entering into the passionate and often turbulent institution of marriage, holding up one’s end of the agreement is the minimum requirement.
The print featured in this article is inspired by Proverbs 31. This chapter describes a woman that goes above and beyond the vows she made. The first nine verses is a mother warning her son about wasting his strength and vitality on the type of girl who ruins kings. Following that, comes admonishment about the other kingship decimating nemesis: Booze. Many demons have coaxed many men to spend ninety percent of their strength, vigor, youth and money on broads and booze…Leaving them to just waste the remainder. 😉
The rest of the thirty one verses describe a wife of noble character. This woman is the antithesis of the king-destroyer. She doesn’t stomp around crushing her husband’s dreams and self esteem as she demands respect and admiration she hasn’t done a thing to earn. Unlike the woman described in the warnings of the first nine verses, she doesn’t drive her husband to erase his memories of misery and anguish with alcohol, as it erases along with it any abilities the man may possess to be a hero; a champion of those who count on him for their support and defense.
This, according to this ancient proverb, is a woman of noble character, a hero, a champion, a woman of valor:
Her husband has full confidence in ger and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.
She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her woman servants.
She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hand to the needy.
When it snows she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.
She is clothed with strength and dignity; and can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many woman do noble things, but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Contact this artist directly, below, or leave a comment below that. Naomi Teplow can be commissioned to create heirloom quality paintings, prints and hand painted, custom Ketubot.
- Aishet Chayil (Woman of Valor) (therealpostnews.wordpress.com)
- The Proverb 31 Woman!! (shantadaniel.wordpress.com)
- Faithfulness in the Small Matters: The Readings for the 33d Sunday in Ordinary Time (thesacredpage.com)
- Does the Bible discriminate against women? (sharonmcelwrathwrites.wordpress.com)
- Belgian Nurse Finally Honored For Valor (lezgetreal.com)