Shalom is a Hebrew word meaning peace, completeness, and welfare and can be used idiomatically to mean hello, and goodbye. As it does in English, it can refer to either peace between two entities (especially between man and God or between two countries), or to the well-being, welfare or safety of an individual or a group of individuals. The word is also found in many other expressions and names. Its equivalent cognate in Arabic is salaam, sliem in Maltese, Shlomo (ܫܠܡܐ) in Syriac-Assyrian and sälam in Ethiopian Semitic languages from the Hebrew root shin-lamed-mem (ש.ל.ם).
The Word "shalom" can be used for all parts of speech; as a noun, adjective, verb, and as an adverb. It categorizes all shaloms. The word shalom
is used in a variety of expressions and contexts in Hebrew speech and writing:
- Shalom aleichem ("well-being be upon you" or "may you be well"), this expression is used to greet others and is a Hebrew equivalent of "hello". Also, for example; "shabat shalom!" The appropriate response to such a greeting is "upon you be well-being" (עֲלֵיכֶם שָׁלוֹם, aleichem shalom). This is a cognate of the Arabic Assalamu alaikum. On Erev Shabbat (Sabbath eve), Jewish people have a custom of singing a song which is called Shalom aleichem, before the Kiddush over wine of the Shabbat dinner is recited.
- In the Gospels, Jesus often uses the greeting "Peace be unto you," a translation of shalom aleichem.
- Shalom by itself is a very common abbreviation, and is used in Modern Israeli Hebrew to both greet and farewell. In this it is similar to the Hawaiian aloha, the (rather old-fashioned) English good evening and the Indian namaste. Also in Israel, especially among secular people, "b'ye" (English) and "yallah b'ye" (a mixture of Arabic and English) is popular. Shalom is also used by Jewish people around the world, and even by many non-Jewish people.
- Shabbat shalom is a common greeting used on Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath). This is most prominent in areas with Mizrahi, Sephardi, or modern Israeli influence. Many Ashkenazi communities in the Jewish diaspora use Yiddish Gut shabbes in preference or interchangeably.
- Ma sh'lom'cha ("what is your well-being/peace?") is a Hebrew equivalent of the English "how are you?". This is the form addressed to a single male. The form for addressing a single female is Ma sh'lomech? For addressing several females, Ma sh'lomchen? For a group of males or a mixed-gender group, Ma sh'lomchem?
- Alav hashalom ("upon him is peace") is a phrase used in some Jewish communities, especially Ashkenazi ones, after mentioning the name of a deceased respected individual.
- Oseh shalom is the part of a passage commonly found as a concluding sentence in much Jewish liturgy (including the birkat hamazon, kaddish and personal amidah prayers). The full sentence is (Oseh shalom bimromav, hu ya'aseh shalom aleynu, ve'al kol Yisrael ve'imru amen), which translates to English as "He who makes peace in His heights may He make peace upon us and upon all Israel; and say, Amen."
- The word Shalom is widely used in popular Israeli songs such as "In Our Garden," "Ratziti Sheteda," and "Shalom Chaverim."
- U.S. President Bill Clinton ended his eulogy for Yitzhak Rabin with the words Shalom, chaver (Goodbye, friend).
- The word 'Lom (and occasionally Sh'lom) have been used (especially by Jewish teenagers) as the contracted forms of Shalom in street slang.
- The word Shalom or in extreme circumstances "Gross Shalom" also is frequently used in the UK to describe a particularly attractive girl
Related words in Modern Hebrew include l'shalem "to pay" and shalem "complete".
Used as a name
Shalom as a name for people
is also common in modern Hebrew in Israel
, as a given name
or a surname
. It is usually used by men as a given name but there are women named Shalom as well.
Notable people named Shalom include:
Related male names include Shlomi (Hebrew name) ("my well-being") and Solomon (Hebrew Shlomo).
Related female names include Shulamit, Shulamith, Shlomtsion or Shlomzion and Salome and Shlomith.
Shalom as a name for organizations
can be part of an organization
The name of the following organizations and places refer to "peace" between Israel and its Arab neighbors:
Shalom as name for synagogues or structures
is used as part of other names, such as for synagogues
, as in:
Shalom as the name for events
- The 1982 Lebanon War is known in Hebrew as Milhemeth Shlom Hagalil (Hebrew: ), which means in English, "The War for the Shalom (or Well-Being) of the Galilee".
Other uses as/in names