What does Shalom Aleichem mean?

What does Shalom Aleichem mean? 1

By the way… What does shalom aleichem mean?

Greetings and farewells are significant in Jewish tradition. The word “shalom” meaning “peace” is often the thread that ties many of these expressions together. Sometimes, it is a simple shalom; and other times, a warm embrace is accompanied by “shalom aleichem,” meaning “peace be upon you.” To which one responds by reversing the greeting “aleichem shalom” (“to you, may there be peace”).

Shalom (שלום) = peace = from the Hebrew word shalem, which means complete.

Literally “Peace be upon you”

Aleikhem (עליכם) is a composite of על (pronounced like “all”), which means “on”, “on top”, “upon”, etc. and the suffix כם which comes from אתכם (“to you” in the masculine or mixed gender, plural conjugation). If speaking to just one person or an all-female group, you would substitute an appropriate alternative conjugation such as Alayikh (עליך) or Aleikhen (עליכן), for example. However, if you use aleikhem incorrectly, it’s okay; people will understand what you meant.

The appropriate response is aleichem shalom (“unto you peace”) (Hebrew: עֲלֵיכֶם שָׁלוֹם). The plural form “עֲלֵיכֶם‎” is used even when addressing one person.

It’s also a great poem (song) too. 

Shalom Aleichem

Singing Shalom Aleichem prior to the Friday evening Shabbat meal is a nearly universal Jewish custom.

The poem’s four stanzas welcome angels into the home on the Sabbath — welcoming them in peace, asking for blessings of peace, and wishing them a peaceful departure (when the Sabbath ends).

 Learn to sing: 

The full text of Shalom Aleichem is as follows:

שָׁלוֹם עֲלֵיכֶם מַלְאֲכֵי הַשָּׁרֵת‏‏ מַלְאֲכֵי עֶלְיוֹן

Shalom aleichem mal’achei hashareit mal’achei elyon

Peace be with you, ministering angels, messengers of the Most High,

מִמֶּלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַמְּלָכִים הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא

Mimelech malchei ham’lachim, ha-kadosh baruch hu

Messengers of the King of Kings, the Holy One, Blessed be He.

בּוֹאֲכֶם לְשָׁלוֹם מַלְאֲכֵי הַשָּׁלוֹם מַלְאֲכֵי עֶלְיוֹן

Bo’achem l’shalom mal’achei hashalom mal’achei elyon

Come in peace, messengers of peace, messengers of the Most High,

מִמֶּלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַמְּלָכִים הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא

Mimelech malchei ham’lachim, ha-kadosh baruch hu

Messengers of the King of Kings, the Holy One, Blessed be He.

בָּרְכוּנִי לְשָׁלוֹם מַלְאֲכֵי הַשָּׁלוֹם מַלְאָכֵי עֶלְיוֹן

Barechuni l’shalom mal’achei hashalom mal’achei elyon

Bless me with peace, messengers of peace, messengers of the Most High,

מִמֶּלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַמְּלָכִים הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא

Mimelech malchei ham’lachim ha-kadosh baruch hu

Messengers of the King of Kings, the Holy One, Blessed be He.

צֵאתְכֶם לְשָׁלוֹם מַלְאֲכֵי הַשָּׁלוֹם מַלְאָכֵי עֶלְיוֹן

Tzeitchem l’shalom mal’achei hashalom mal’achei elyon

Go in peace, messengers of peace, messengers of the Most High,

מִמֶּלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַמְּלָכִים הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא

Mimelech malchei ham’lachim ha-kadosh baruch hu

Messengers of the King of Kings, the Holy One, Blessed be He.