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929 Project: Genesis 15 – shalom

August 2, 2018

Genesis 15:15

ואתה תבוא אל אבתיך בשלום תקבר בשיבה טובה

As for yourself, you shall go to your ancestors in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. (NRSV)

This is the first mention of שלום (shalom) in Hebrew Bible.  Shalom can mean peace, hello, or goodbye, and the 929 web site asks the question of how one translates the Beatles:  “You say shalom, and I say shalom. Shalom, shalom! I don’t know why you say shalom, I say shalom….”

A possible translation of Judges 6:24 has Gideon calling God “LORD shalom,” and from this arose a tradition that Shalom is a name for God (see BT Shabbos 10b).  (Another possible translations has Gideon calling the altar “LORD shalom” – which raises monotheistic issues; or calling the altar “the LORD is shalom” or “the LORD is at shalom,” which are compatible with shalom being a Divine name.)

But shalom as a Divine name is a truly beautiful idea.  It means that we greet others and part from others with a name of God, and helps build on the idea that God is peace.

Here is more information about this series; and here is a table of abbreviations and acronyms.  Posts are backdated to match with 929 reading dates.

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