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What Does Shalom Mean?

What Does Shalom Mean?

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Question:

I have heard "shalom" for years, but I don't know the meaning of the word. Can you help me understand this apparently profound word?

Answer:

I should know the meaning of the word as it's also my son's name...

Shalom, like many Hebrew words, has more than one meaning.

Shalom means peace, and is rooted in the word שלם (shaleim), which means completion. Without peace, there can be no completion...

Shalom is also commonly used as a greeting and salutation.

Shalom is also one of the Divine names, as such one should not greet a friend with "Shalom!" when in a place, such as a lavatory, where it is forbidden to pronounce G‑d's name.1

Shalom is also a common boy's name, though, interestingly, the Talmud refers to it as a woman's name (the name of Rabbi Eliezer's wife).

There are many references to this word and its variations throughout the Torah, Talmud and the commentaries. One I like in particular is the Mishnah that says: "G‑d did not find a vessel that could hold blessing other than shalom (peace)."

The more shalom we bring to the world, the quicker will we attain completion and true, everlasting peace.

Let me know if this helps,

Chani Benjaminson
Chabad.org

Footnotes
1.

It is, however, permitted according to most halachic authorities – and such is the prevailing practice – to call or talk of a person named Shalom in such places.

Chani Benjaminson is co-director of Chabad of the South Coast, coordinator of Chabad’s Ask the Rabbi and Feedback departments, and is a member of the editorial staff of Chabad.org.
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Discussion (16)
December 11, 2015
Thank you, needed this :)
Chris
September 22, 2015
My name is Shalom!!!
Shalom Williams
burke
August 31, 2015
Shalom is my name and that's pretty cool
Anonymous
May 26, 2014
Shalom - true peace with authority which destroys chaos
Anonymous
November 22, 2013
I was terribly worried for my son and was praying for him with fear and tears as I was driving home; suddenly, I turned to my left and looked up to read a street name sign......for no reason at all..........I have passed by this street at least 100 times before, mind you. The street name....SHALOM! I had heard this word many times before but wanted to research its meaning a bit more. Wow! Wow! God does speak! Shalom.
Lourdes
March 31, 2013
discussion
Understood.Shalom.
dennis.mutua
March 20, 2013
Response
You can respond with shalom in return, or shalom u'vracha which means 'peace and blessing'.
Mrs. Chana Benjaminson
mychabad.org
March 19, 2013
When someone greets you with shalom, what should your reply be?
Anonymous
Illinois
May 4, 2012
Shalom
Im not hebrew what so ever, but I dig the word and its meaning. Its real nice and powerful.
The guy
Korea town, Ca
January 3, 2012
Shalom
I am a person of faith. I was praying and the word Shalom was spoken to me three times. I was very curious to its meaning. I have a much clearer understanding now. Thank you so much.
Anonymous
attalla, alabama usa