There are several Jewish and Hebrew greetings, farewells, and phrases that are used in Judaism, and in Jewish and Hebrew-speaking communities around the world. Even outside Israel, Hebrew is an important part of Jewish life. Many Jews, even if they do not speak Hebrew fluently, will know several of these greetings (most are Hebrew, some are Yiddish).
For the Sabbath, there are several greetings that Jews use to greet one another.
|Shabbat shalom||שַׁבָּת שָׁלוֹם||Peaceful Sabbath||[ʃaˈbat ʃaˈlom]||Hebrew||Used any time on Shabbat, especially at the end of a Shabbat service. Used also preceding Shabbat (in Israel) almost like "have a good weekend."|
|Good Sabbath||[ɡʊt ˈʃabəs]||Yiddish/English||Used any time on Shabbat, especially in general conversation or when greeting people.|
|Good week||[ʃaˈvu.a tov]||Yiddish/Hebrew||Used on Saturday nights (after Havdalah) and even on Sundays "shavua tov" is used to wish someone a good coming week.|
|Chag sameach||חַג שָׂמֵחַ||Happy holiday||[χaɡ saˈme.aχ]||Hebrew||Used as a greeting for the holidays, can insert holiday name in the middle; e.g. "chag Chanukah sameach". Also, for Passover, "chag kasher v'same'ach" (חַג כָּשֵׁר וְשָׂמֵחַ) meaning wishing a happy and kosher holiday.|
|A good festival period
A happy festival period
|Hebrew||Used as a greeting during the chol ha-moed (intermediate days) of the Passover and Sukkot holidays.|
|Gut Yontiv||גוט יום־טובֿ||Good Yom Tov||[ɡʊt ˈjɔntɪv]||Yiddish/English||Used as a greeting for the Yom Tov holidays. Often spelled Gut Yontif or Gut Yontiff.|
|L'shanah tovah||לְשָׁנָה טוֹבָה||To a good year||[leʃaˈna toˈva]||Hebrew||Used as a greeting during Rosh Hashanah and the Days of Awe, Also used, simply "shanah tovah" (שָׁנָה טוֹבָה), meaning "a good year", or "shana tova u'metukah" (שָׁנָה טוֹבָה וּמְתוּקָה) meaning "a good and sweet year". The phrase is short for "l'shanah tovah tikatevu ve techatemu" (לְשָׁנָה טוֹבָה תִכָּתֵבוּ וְתֵּחָתֵמוּ), meaning "may you be inscribed and sealed (in the Book of Life) for a good year". A shorter version is often used: "ktiva ve chatima tova" (כְּתִיבָה וְחֲתִימָה טוֹבָה), meaning "(have a) good signature (in the Book of Life)" and literally "good inscribing and signing".|
|Tzom kal||צוֹם קַל||Easy fast||[tsom kal]||Hebrew||Used to wish someone well for Yom Kippur. The word "happy" is not used because Yom Kippur is meant to be somber holiday, not a happy one.|
|G'mar Chatima Tovah||גמר חתימה טובה||May you be inscribed for good [in the Book of Life]||||Hebrew||Used to wish someone well for Yom Kippur. Tradition teaches that our fate is written on Rosh Hashanah and is sealed on Yom Kippur.|
Greetings and farewells
There are several greetings and good-byes used in Hebrew to say hello and farewell to someone.
|Shalom||שָׁלוֹם||Hello, goodbye, peace||[ʃaˈlom]||Hebrew||A Hebrew greeting, based on the root for "completeness". Literally meaning "peace", shalom is used for both hello and goodbye. A cognate with the Arabic-language salaam.|
|Shalom aleichem||שָׁלוֹם עֲלֵיכֶם||Peace be upon you||[ʃaˈlom ʔaˈlejχem]||Hebrew||This form of greeting was traditional among the Ashkenazi Jewish communities of Eastern Europe. The appropriate response is "Aleichem Shalom" (עֲלֵיכֶם שָׁלוֹם) or "Upon you be peace." (cognate with the Arabic-language "assalamu alaikum" meaning "The peace [of Allah] be upon you.)"|
These are Hebrew phrases used in Jewish communities both inside and outside of Israel.
|Mazal tov / Mazel tov||מַזָּל טוֹב||good luck/congratulations||[maˈzal tov]
|Hebrew/Yiddish||Used to mean congratulations. Used in Hebrew (mazal tov) or Yiddish. Used on to indicate good luck has occurred, ex. birthday, bar mitzvah, a new job, or an engagement. Also shouted out at Jewish weddings when the groom (or both fiances) stomps on a glass. It is also used when someone accidentally breaks a glass or a dish. However, NOT normally used on news of a pregnancy, where it is replaced by "b'sha'ah tovah" ("may it happen at a good time/in the proper time").|
|B'karov etzlech (f.)
B'karov etzlecha (m.)
|בְּקָרוֹב אֶצְלְךָ||Soon so shall it be by you||[bekaˈʁov ʔetsˈleχ]
|Hebrew||Used in response to "mazal tov"|
|B'ezrat HaShem||בְּעֶזְרָת הַשֵּׁם||With God's help||[beʔezˈʁat haˈʃem]||Hebrew||Used by religious Jews when speaking of the future and wanting God's help (similar to "God willing").|
|Yishar koach||יְשַׁר כֹּחַ||You should have strength||[jiˈʃaʁ ˈko.aχ]||Hebrew||Meaning "good for you", "way to go", or "more power to you". Often used in synagogue after someone has received an honour. The proper response is "baruch teheyeh" (m)/brucha teeheyi (f) meaning "you shall be blessed." |
|Chazak u'varuch||חֵזָק וּבָרוךְ||Be strong and blessed||[χaˈzak uvaˈʁuχ]||Hebrew||Used in Sephardi synagogues after an honour. The response is "chazak ve'ematz" ("be strong and have courage")|
|Nu?||?נו||So?||[nu]||Yiddish||A Yiddish interjection used to inquire about how everything went.|
|Kol ha kavod||כֹּל הַכָּבוֹד||All of the honour||[kol hakaˈvod]||Hebrew||Used for a job well done.|
|Hebrew/Yiddish||Hebrew and Yiddish equivalent of saying "cheers" when doing a toast|
|Gesundheit||געזונטהייט||Health||[ɡəˈzʊnthajt]||Yiddish||Yiddish (and German) equivalent of saying "bless you" when someone sneezes. Also sometimes "tsu gezunt".|
|Labriut||לבריאות||To Health||[labʁiˈʔut]||Hebrew||Hebrew equivalent of saying "bless you" when someone sneezes.|
- Hebrew For Dummies: "Speaking of Favorite Hebrew Expressions"
- Jew Faq: "Judaism 101: Expressions and Greetings"
- High Holidays: Rosh Ha-Shana, Hebrew: Virtual Ulpan
- "G'mar Chatimah Tovah from Jspace". Jspace. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
- Hebrew For Dummies: "Greeting and Saying Good-bye in Hebrew"
- "In the proper time"
- Jewish Holiday Greeting Chart on Patheos