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How to Greet Others on Shabbat

How to Greet Others on Shabbat

Shabbat Shalom or Gut Shabbos

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If you walk down the street in a Jewish neighborhood anytime between Friday morning and Saturday afternoon,1 you will notice Jews of all stripes wishing each other a peaceful, enjoyable Shabbat. In fact, as early as Wednesday, you can bid farewell with wishes for a good Shabbat.

But what to say? As always, different Jews have different ways of doing things.

The traditional Yiddish greeting of Ashkenazi Jews is “Gut Shabbos,” which means “Good Sabbath.” This greeting is used in place of both “hello” and “goodbye.” However, when used in parting, it is modified slightly to “Ah gutten Shabbos.” If you cannot remember the Yiddish nuances, just say “Good Shabbos” every time, and you’ll be in very good company.

This greeting is preferred by chassidic and traditional Jews of European descent.

The Hebrew salutation, used by Sephardim of Eastern descent and those who favor modern Hebrew, is “Shabbat shalom,” which means “Sabbath [of] peace.”

(Just to add to the mix, there is also the Aramaic version of “Shabbata tava,” “Good Sabbath,” that appears occasionally in writing. No need to memorize this for when you meet an Aramaic Jew, because there are none.)

On Saturday night, we wish each other “Shavua tov” or “Gut voch, both of which mean “Good week” in Hebrew and Yiddish respectively.

If you want to greet someone but are not sure what to say, just let them greet you first and then repeat their greeting back to them. Works every time.

Footnotes
1.
As evening draws near, we no longer wish each other a good Sabbath, as this time of Sabbath is not as good as the rest. Why so? It was this time of day that our leaders, Moses, Joseph and King David, passed away.
Rabbi Menachem Posner serves as staff editor for Chabad.org.
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Discussion (6)
August 5, 2016
Is Todah Rabbah Hebrew or Yiddish.If not Yiddish how to say thank you in Yiddish?Todah Rabbah shalome aleem
Anonymous
crown heights Brooklyn
July 31, 2016
Ashkenazi
Ashkenazi Jews are the Jewish people from Germany, Central Europe, Eastern Europe and their descendants.

Todah rabbah with the "h" is more proper, but people often write it without.
Menachem Posner
July 29, 2016
learning Yiddish and Hebrew
What is a Ashkenazi Jew?And is it Todah Rabah or toda raba?
DAR HOSHANNA
crown heights Brooklyn n.y.
July 14, 2016
I am so use to Ashkenazit and Sepharadit that I have considered just using each one respectively which that particular group of people.

I live near a Ukrainian Jew and a Yemenite Jew. We both go to the same Shul. When meeting the Ukrainian Jew, an Ashkenazi, I say "Good Shabbos!". When I meet my Yemenite Jewish friend, I say "Shabbat Shalom!". And even the way I say the names of Jewish things (holidays etc.) changed based on who I am.

If you really want to have the best relations with all the Jewish tribes, having our unique differences is just as important as being united. They are both important in our own ways. We are all Jews regardless of tribe. We are all part of HaShem's plan to make the world a better place. These differences between the tribes of Israel shouldn't stop us from working together to make things better.

Shabbat Shalom und Gut Shabbos, everyone!
Anonymous
Roswell
September 11, 2015
Aramaic Jews?
While there may not be Aramaic Jews, it is good to remember the contribution that the Aramaic language has made - such as Bar Mitzvah.
Robert Wismer
August 18, 2015
Shabbos Greetings
In the very orthodox hasidic circles, one often shortens the greeting to simply "Shabbos", upon meeting and when departing from one's fellow. I guess that's because the word itself encapsulates several concepts, including peace, joy, rest, holiness, unity, olam haba etc. I guess because it's so heilig and derhoyben, it doesn't technically require any additional modifiers to enhance its meaning. Just a thought...

Do you think it's an inyan to say, "Gut Shabbos" to Hashem, either as a meditation or perhaps even vocally? I mean, after all, Who more than Hashem understands, appreciates and sanctifies the Shabbos? Just another thought...
Adiv Abramson
Minnesota