Shalom aleichem

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Shalom aleichem (/ʃəˌlɒm əˈlxəm, ˌʃləm-/;[1][2] Hebrew: שָׁלוֹם עֲלֵיכֶם, šālōm ʿalēḵem; Hebrew pronunciation: [ʃaˈloːm ʕaleːˈxem]) is a spoken greeting in Hebrew, meaning "peace be upon you". The appropriate response is aleichem shalom ("unto you peace") (Hebrew: עֲלֵיכֶם שָׁלוֹם).[3][4] The plural form "עֲלֵיכֶם‎" is used even when addressing one person.

This form of greeting is traditional among Jews throughout the world. The greeting is more common among Ashkenazi Jews.


Biblical characters greet each other with šālōm lǝkā (šālōm to you, m. singular) or šālōm lākem (plural).

Šālōm ʿālēkā (šālōm upon you, m. singular) is first attested in the Scroll of Blessings for the First Month (before 30 BCE), a Dead Sea Scroll, where it is spelled, in their manner, with a final He.

The plural šālōm ʿălēkem first appears in the Jerusalem Talmud (c. 400 CE), always with a plural object. It occurs there six times and the response is to repeat šālōm ʿălēkem.

Šālōm ʿālēkā appears many times in the Talmud Bavli (c. 500 CE), where the response is to repeat šālōm ʿālēkā.

The inverted response ʿālēkā šālōm (upon you šālōm, m. singular) is first attested in the Midrash Abba Gorion (before 1050 CE), in its gloss on Esther 3:5:

"What did Haman do when he passed by and Mordechai did not rise to greet him?[a] He came from one side and made as if Mordechai had greeted him,[b] saying 'ʿālēkā šālōm,' but Mordechai replied, 'the Lord says there is no šālōm for the wicked.[5]'"

The plural greeting and response became common among European Jews in the second half of the next millennium, as the use of plural forms to denote respect was imported from French and German.[6]

Other religions[edit]

Many religions share cognates to this greeting.

The related Arabic variation as-salāmuʿalaikum ("peace be upon you", ٱلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُم in Arabic), is used by Muslims of many language and ethnic backgrounds. The appropriate response is Wa alaikumus-salaam ("and unto you peace", وَعَلَيْكُمُ ٱلسَّلَام). As-salāmu alaykum and its variants are also used by Arabs of different religions as a greeting. Aramaic and Classical Syriac use Shlama 'allāwkhon (ܫܠܡܐ ܥܠܘܟ݂ܘܢ), which means "peace on you".

Within the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, Peace be with you (in Greek: "Εἰρήνη σoι", in Latin: "Pax vobiscum") is the initial liturgical greeting by a bishop or priest during divine services. In Mass, Catholic priests who are not bishops say "The Lord be with you." The response is "And with your spirit." A somewhat similar greeting used within the Mass by bishops and priests is "The peace of the Lord be with you always." In Orthodox Church, the greeting is always the same: Peace be with you.

Similarly, "Peace be with you" is used within Anglican liturgies of the Episcopal Church and other Anglican churches, with the response being "And also with you." The same is true of Lutheran churches, some Presbyterian and Reformed churches, such as the Presbyterian Church and the Church of the Brethren.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "shalom aleichem". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
  2. ^ "shalom aleichem". Collins Dictionary. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
  3. ^ "shalom aleichem". Unabridged (Online). n.d. Retrieved July 28, 2016.
  4. ^ Dovid Zaklikowski. "The Jewish Hello". Retrieved July 28, 2016.
  5. ^ Isaiah 48:22
  6. ^ Ron, Zvi. "'Shalom Aleichem' to Three People During Kiddush Levanah" (PDF).
  1. ^ lit. ask after his šālōm
  2. ^ lit. asked after his šālōm