Shalom (Hebrew: שָׁלוֹם shalom; also spelled as sholom, sholem, sholoim, shulem) is a Hebrew word meaning peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility and can be used idiomatically to mean both hello and goodbye.
In Hebrew, words are built on "roots", generally of three consonants. When the root consonants appear with various vowels and additional letters, a variety of words, often with some relation in meaning, can be formed from a single root. Thus from the root sh-l-m come the words shalom ("peace, well-being"), hishtalem ("it was worth it"), shulam ("was paid for"), meshulam ("paid for in advance"), mushlam ("perfect"), and shalem ("whole").
In translations of the Bible, shalom may be translated as peace (English), paz (Spanish and Portuguese), paix (French), pace (Italian), or pax (Latin). The concept of peace is important in Christianity.
Biblically, shalom is seen in reference to the well-being of others (Genesis 43:27, Exodus 4:18), to treaties (I Kings 5:12), and in prayer for the wellbeing of cities or nations (Psalm 122:6, Jeremiah 29:7).
The meaning of completeness, central to the term shalom, can also be confirmed in related terms found in other Semitic languages. The Assyrian term salamu means to be complete, unharmed, paid/atoned. Sulmu, another Assyrian term, means welfare. A closer relation to the idea of shalom as concept and action is seen in the Arabic root salaam, meaning to be safe, secure and forgiven, among other things.
The word "shalom" can be used for all parts of speech; as a noun, adjective, verb, adverb, and interjection. It categorizes all shaloms. The word shalom is used in a variety of expressions and contexts in Hebrew speech and writing:
Shalom by itself is a very common abbreviation and it is used in Modern Israeli Hebrew as a greeting, to which the common reply is, Shalom, Shalom. It is also used as a farewell. In this way it is similar to the Hawaiian aloha, the English good evening and the Indian namaste. Also in Israel, "bye" (English) and "yallah bye" (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.
Shalom aleichem (שָׁלוֹם עֲלֵיכֶם; "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" (e.g., Matt 10:12), a translation of shalom aleichem. See Pax (liturgy).
Ma sh'lom'cha (מַה שְׁלוֹמְךָ; "what is your well-being/peace?") is a Hebrew equivalent of the English "how are you?". This is the form addressed to an individual male. The form for addressing an individual 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 (עָלָיו הַשָּׁלוֹם; "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 עוֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם בִּמְרוֹמָיו, הוּא יַעֲשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם עַלֵינוּ, וְעַל כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן (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." It originates from Job 25:2.
In Judaism, Shalom (peace), is one of the underlying principles of the Torah: "Her ways are pleasant ways and all her paths are shalom (peace)"." The Talmud explains, "The entire Torah is for the sake of the ways of shalom".Maimonides comments in his Mishneh Torah: "Great is peace, as the whole Torah was given in order to promote peace in the world, as it is stated, 'Her ways are pleasant ways and all her paths are peace'".
In the book Not the Way It's Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin, author Cornelius Plantinga described the Old Testament concept of shalom:
The webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight is what the Hebrew prophets call shalom. We call it peace but it means far more than mere peace of mind or a cease-fire between enemies. In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness and delight – a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed, a state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as its Creator and Savior opens doors and welcomes the creatures in whom he delights. Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be.
Use as name
Name for God
The Talmud says, "the name of God is 'Peace'", therefore, one is not permitted to greet another with the word shalom in places such as a bathroom.
^F.E. Marsh dealing with the comprehensiveness of the word shalom is the personification of Peace...and a name of God, Lockyer, Herbert. All the Divine Names and Titles in the Bible. pg. 41, 47, Zondervan, 1988