Hebrew Nuggets, Lesson 16: Shalom (Part 2)

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The second of a two-part study of the word "Shalom."

Revised: 29-Sept.-2015
As we saw in our last lesson, shalom is a very flexible word and can refer to much more than peace. All of the meanings we mentioned—“friendship,” “well-being,” “safety” and “salvation”—are clearly related to peace. And they also are all aspects of “completeness,” the fundamental meaning of the Hebrew root שׁ-ל-ם (sh-l-m).

Hebrew NuggetsThe word shalom appears in the Hebrew Scriptures 226 times, yet we find it nowhere in English translations of the Bible. It is never simply transliterated as “shalom,” but is always translated by English equivalents such as “peace.” Today, however, shalom has become an international word.

In addition to the many sides of shalom we mentioned previously, every visitor to Israel quickly learns two further uses of the word. In modern Hebrew, “Shalom” has become the way to say both “Hello” and “Goodbye,” thus, Israelis bless one another with shalom when they meet and when they part.

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To read the next lesson, click here. For the transliteration system used in this series, click here.
This article originally appeared in issue 16 of the Jerusalem Perspective magazine. Click on the image above to view a PDF of the original magazine article.

  • David N. Bivin

    David N. Bivin

    David N. Bivin is founder and editor of Jerusalem Perspective. A native of Cleveland, Oklahoma, U.S.A., Bivin has lived in Israel since 1963, when he came to Jerusalem on a Rotary Foundation Fellowship to do postgraduate work at the Hebrew University. He studied at the Hebrew…
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