Eliezer Shemtov
Trying to make a difference

Shalom Aleichem, Aleichem Shalom!

Why is it that when two Jews meet, they greet one another by one saying “Shalom Aleichem, Peace be unto you”, and the other responding “Aleichem Shalom, Unto you, Peace”?

There are those that will answer that wherever there are two Jews there are three opinions. Jews can never agree. See? Even from the get-go one says one thing, Shalom Aleichem, and the other has to say “no, it’s the other way around, Aleichem Shalom.”

The reason I am broaching this topic in my introductory blog on Times of Israel is not because I intend to argue with everyone or generate disagreements, but precisely due to the opposite lesson that my Rebbe, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, may his merit protect us, taught us regarding this ancient Jewish custom.

The Rebbe pointed out the following: The reason for the custom of Shalom Aleichem-Aleichem Shalom is because whenever two Jews meet they must begin with Shalom, peace, and conclude with Shalom. Any and all disagreements must be imbued with Shalom and expressed in the spirit of teaching and learning. It must end with Shalom.

I have dedicated many years to learning and teaching. I hope to share here some of what I learned and am confident that that in turn will help me learn even more.

Thank you, Times of Israel, for the opportunity, and thank you, dear readers, for sharing your opinions with me.

Aleichem Shalom.

About the Author
Rabbi Eliezer Shemtov, born in in Brooklyn, NY in 1961. Received Smicha From Tomchei Temimim in 1984 and shortly after was sent by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, may his merit shield us, together with his wife Rachel to establish the first Beit Chabad in Montevideo, Uruguay and direct Chabad activities in that country. He has authored many articles on Judaism that have been published internationally. Since publishing his popular book on intermarriage, "Dear Rabbi, Why Can't I Marry Her?" he has authored several books in Spanish, English and Hebrew dealing with the challenges that the contemporary Jew has to deal with.
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