Monday, December 31, 2007

Shalom Aleichem - Aleichem Shalom

We learned in the following braisa (Nedarim 10b): Rabbi Shimon says: How do we know that a person should not say (when consecrating an offering) “to Hashem an olah,” “to Hashem a mincha,” “to Hashem a todah,” or “to Hashem a shelamim” (but rather, the Name of Hashem should always be mentioned first)? It is derived from the verse [Vayikra 1:2]: An offering to Hashem.

The Yeshuos Yaakov (Y”D 148) uses our Gemora to explain our custom of greeting your fellow with “Shalom Aleichem,” and they respond with “Aleichem Shalom.” In truth, it should be forbidden to say “Shalom aleichem,” for “Shalom” is one of the Names of Hashem and we should be concerned that a person will die immediately after saying “Shalom” without having the opportunity to conclude and say “aleichem.” If this would happen, it would emerge that he had said Hashem’s Name in vain. However, since Chazal have told us that one who greets his fellow with “shalom” will merit living a long life, there is no need to be concerned that he will die immediately following saying “shalom.” This logic is only applicable to the first one greeting his fellow, for he is the one that has this guarantee. The fellow responding, however, does not have this guarantee, and that is why he replies and says, “Aleichem shalom.”

4 comments:

ben said...

Mahari Asad writes this vort regarding Boaz and the kotzrim. He says that Boaz said HaShem imachem but they responded yivarechecho HaShem, because Boaz was makdim shalom and he knew he would not die, whereas the kotzrim were responding so they didn't have this gurantee. I was not able to locate this Medrash.

Avromi said...

Yeshuos Yaakov says the same regarding Boaz

Avromi said...

It seems that the Yeshos Yaakov said this vort when he was twelve years old. A Torah scholar asked him to say a vort about "shalom aleichem," and this was his response.

Avromi said...

The Midrash comments rather cryptically and without elaboration that the phrase "Yameinu KeTZel Over" (our days are like a passing shadow) (Psalms 144:4) is pertinent to the above verse. What exactly is this connection and how is it relevant to our life?

Rav Chaim Brisker explains by quoting the Gemara (Nedarim 10b): When a person designates an offering he should not say "LaHashem Korban" (to God, an offering), rather he should say "Korban LaHashem" (an offering to God). According to the SHlah, the reason one should not say "LaHashem Korban" is that maybe he will take God’s name in vain, in the rare event that he might die in the middle of his sentence! This explains the cryptic Midrash. The concern is that the person might die suddenly, since our days are like a passing shadow.

I found this here: link