I was in a Tunisian-custom synagogue recently. As many synagogues do, it had signs hanging on the walls containing texts that people will often need to say while not holding a prayer book (a generic Sephardic prayer book. There were no Tunisian ones).

Most of these made a lot of sense to me, but one was "אשת חיל" (Proverbs 31:10–31). Why would that be on the wall? Is it said as part of the synagogue service in the Tunisian custom, and such that people might want or need to say it when they're without prayer books? If so, where in the service is it, meaning on what occasion is it said?


2 Answers 2


According to this website, the custom in the Jewish Tunisian community is to recite the "Eishet Chayil", after the reading of "Shir Hashirim" (Song of Songs) and in the Djerba community to recite it during the weeks of Sefirat HaOmer.

[In many Sefardic communities, "Shir Hashirim" is recited weekly, after "Kabbalat Shabbat", before "Arvit". Some of the communities recite it after Minha, before “Kabbalat Shabbat”, depending on the season].

Why was this text on the wall?

We can conjecture that perhaps it's because the prayer books in that synagogue were generic Sephardic ones, and didn't have אשת חיל at that point in the service.

We can also suggest, that simple people might not read the (longer) Shir Hashirim, and would just read the "Eshet Chayil", from the text on the wall.

  • IIANM, Habbanis also have the custom to recite it by arvit.
    – Oliver
    Aug 30, 2019 at 17:07

Alei Hadas pg 310 (where Rav Mazuz says to look about why the custom exists in the YKR question linked to by @IsraelReader) surmises that some communities recite it in shul because some people won't say it at home or to buy time for latecomers. Either way, the one on the wall is probably just a means of getting another donation for the shul and of little practical value. (After all, Eshet Chayil is printed after Shalom Alechem in the Siddur.)

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