"A woman of valor, who can find her?"
Many Jews ask that question every Friday night with the recitation of the song "Aishet Chayil" at the Shabbat table.
One answer to the question: Tom Brady.
The Patriots quarterback may not have walked away with an MVP trophy or a Super Bowl ring after last Sunday's showdown in Indianapolis, but he did get a reminder that he is married to his No. 1 fan.
Brazilian model Giselle Bundchen made international headlines for her candid post-game analysis. "My husband cannot [bleep] throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time," he said.
Plenty of sportscasters get huge paychecks for saying the equally obvious, but Bundchen's reaction was taken as a slap at her husband's teammates.
"I can't believe they dropped the ball so many times," Bundchen said, adding insult to injury for the receivers who missed Brady's passes, including the Hail Mary throw in the final quarter that could have saved the Pats from defeat.
Her spirited defense of Brady reminded me of the Aishet Chayil song. Written in another era, it generally extols the wife for none of her own virtues, but mostly for taking care of the household while her husband "sits among the elders of the land."
But here's one of the exceptions: "She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the lesson of kindness is on her tongue."
Whether Giselle lived up to that standard depends on how you look at it. From a strictly analytical point of view her wisdom is dead-on. If wide receivers Wes Welker and Deion Branch and tight end Aaron Hernandez did their jobs flawlessly she wouldn't have been in a position of having to defend her husband.
Was kindness on her tongue? Probably not. But look at the circumstances. Almost completely lost from the controversy is any criticism of the obnoxious Giants fans who heckled Bundchen as she left Lucas Oil Field by screaming "Eli [Manning] owns your husband." Apparently these weasels never learned about good sportsmanship before they were kicked out of Little League.
Many public figures I can think of may have responded with far less wisdom and a greater lack of kindness on their tongues. Short of taking the high road and saying nothing ("stay cute and shut up," in the sexist words of Giants running back Brandon Jacobs) Giselle showed more class than a lot of us would when confronted with a public dissing of our significant other.
In an age of celebrity marriages that expire faster than parking meters and spoil quicker than milk, and public figures who treat their spouses as campaign props (or worse) this display of love and loyalty should be celebrated.
So, yasherkoach, Giselle. As the proverb concludes, "Many women have done worthily, but you surpass them all."
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