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There are multiple ways of greeting one another in Jewish culture. Different greetings are associated with various events and occasions. Most cultures are used to having one way of saying hello to one another; hence this can get confusing at times. Hebrew greetings are used to express different emotions and feelings.
This is going to breakdown some of the common greetings and their specific meetings.
The most common way to say hello in Hebrew is “Shalom.” This word holds a great deal of importance in Jewish traditions. It is also used to say goodbye, and it means peace. The connection to peace is of utter importance and represents a significant value in this culture.
The use of Shalom as a way of saying hello is very significant. The deeper meaning of Shalom is related to being complete and whole. This is related to a life of perfection and satisfaction. Therefore, when saying hello using Shalom, it is done with a deeper meaning behind it.
Different greetings are available for specific occasions. When there are happy and sad occasions, different responses are suitable. A few other greetings are mentioned below:
- Shabbat Shalom – Good Sabbath and thank you.
- Boker Tov – Good morning, hello, goodbye, or peace.
- Shavua Tov – A good week or see you soon.
- Tzohorayim Tovim – Good afternoon
- Lilah Tov – Goodnight or excuse me.
This term is used before or after Shabbat, which is a sacred event in Jewish culture. Shabbat means “peaceful Sabbath.” Therefore, this greeting or departing line is used during this celebration. This term is only used during this religious occurrence.
Shabbat is over once three stars are present in the sky on a Saturday night. This is when the greeting can stop being used.
This response is constantly used during this time as it is a custom. It is also a custom to wish people Shavu’a Tov on Saturday or Sunday as this wishes them a good start to the following week.
Greetings at Different Times of Day
In many cultures, there are different ways of saying hello, depending on the time of day. The same can be said for Jewish traditions. The difference with Jewish people comes in when it is Shabbat. This is when the greetings change even further as Sabbath-related greetings are appropriate.
In the morning, one would say Boker Tov, which could be an appropriate response as well. In the afternoon, you may say Tzohorayim Tovim; in the evening, you can say Ere Tov, and at night you can say Lilah Tov. When responding to these greetings, you can simply repeat the phrase back to the person.
Responding in Hebrew
Learning how to respond to people in their language is a great way of showing respect, which can form meaningful relationships. Hence, it is important to be educated on basic greetings so that you may respond appropriately and create a good first impression.
Phrases that can be used to respond to respond to someone who has greeted you in Hebrew include:
- B’seder (beh-she-der) – okay
- Shlomi Tov (sh-loh-mee tohv) – I am good
- Mamash Tov (mah-mahsh tohv) – really good
- Lo Kol-Kach Tov (loh kohl-kahch tohv) – not so good
Being able to greet back is a wonderful tool, but it might not be as useful if you have nothing to say afterward. That is why it is important to educate yourself on other languages and cultures.
Pronunciation of Jewish Greetings
This is how you pronounce the different phrases mentioned above:
- Shalom – shah-lohm
- Shabbat Shalom – sha-baht sha-lohm
- Boker Tov – bo-ker tohv
- Tzohorayim Tovim – tzoh-hoh-rah-yeem toh-veem
- Ere Tov – air-ev tohv
- Lilah Tov – lie-lah tohv
Saying hello is an important aspect that many people overlook. This should not be the case because the way you greet someone sets the tone for your entire relationship with that person.
Knowing how to greet someone back in their specific language shows good character. It shows mutual respect, understanding, and interest in that person’s beliefs and traditions.