The prayer "Sim Shalom", recited at the end of the morning Amidah, first says:

שִׂים שָׁלוֹם טוֹבָה וּבְרָכָה חֵן וָחֶֽסֶד וְרַחֲמִים עָלֵֽינוּ -- Grant peace, goodness and blessing, grace, lovingkindness and mercy to us...

Then adds:

תּוֹרַת חַיִּים וְאַֽהֲבַת חֶֽסֶד וּצְדָקָה וּבְרָכָה וְרַחֲמִים וְחַיִּים וְשָׁלוֹם׃ -- [You have given us] the Torah of life, and love of kindness, and righteousness and blessing and mercy and life and peace...

"Goodness" and "grace" are mentioned only in the first; "life" and "righteousness" only in the second. Why? We certainly wish to ask God for "life" and "righteousness" as well; and I am sure the Torah is considered to also teach "goodness" and "grace".

And note that "shalom" is first in the first line and last in the second. Why?

(Just poetry, forget it?)

  • IMHO Your translate is incorrect. אהבת חסד does not mean "love of kindness" It means "[You give us] love for free [because you are graceful]" and "צדקה" does not mean "righteousness" it means "charity". These goes together with "mercy and blessing" Commented Nov 28, 2019 at 9:16
  • Some do say "life" in the first grouping.
    – msh210
    Commented Nov 28, 2019 at 11:37

2 Answers 2


The first phrase emphasizes placing shalom upon us in regard to that which follows.

The word, shalom means that things which are in conflict with one another, cease conflict and opposition. Yet they remain in existence as they are, as opposites.

The five categories following shalom (טוֹבָה וּבְרָכָה חֵן וָחֶֽסֶד וְרַחֲמִים) may potentially be in conflict with each other and even cancel one another out. We are asking that whatever dissonance that may be potentially, will be resolved so that all aspects are preserved in tact. No part of G-d's creation is unnecessary or a waste.

The second phrase is explaining why we should all be blessed by G-d as one. It is a consequence of G-d having given us (meaning taught us) the way of life and loving kindness, etc. What we have been taught through G-d's Torah transcends opposites. It reveals the unity in all of creation and shows that no place is devoid of Him.

  • 1
    Sources would (as always) be helpful, but great explanation Commented Nov 27, 2019 at 21:28
  • Nice thoughts, but they do not explain why some categories are omitted in the first or the second lines. Everything you said would be true even if each line had the same 7 categories. Commented Nov 27, 2019 at 22:23
  • @MauriceMizrahi The 5 categories (actually 2 groups, 1 of 3, חן חסד רחמים, and 1 of 2, טובה ברכה) only relate to the request for shalom (שלום). The second phrase in your question is dealing with a different request where there is no actual concept of ‘other’. The 2nd phrase is a higher level relating to perfection and completeness. This distinction is talked about in many Chassidic and Kabbalistic sources. Commented Nov 27, 2019 at 23:08
  • @JoshK I considered referencing sources to this answer. But what Maurice is really asking is simply about the meaning of the words. Any good Hebrew dictionary is enough to understand this. Commented Nov 27, 2019 at 23:12

R' Shimon Schwab in the Artscroll sefer "Rav Schwab on Prayer" explains this disparity.

He says that:

שים שָׁלום טובָה וּבְרָכָה. חֵן וָחֶסֶד וְרַחֲמִים. The opening phrase, beginning with שִׂים שָׁלוֹם, is a prayer for inner peace, or peace of mind, in which one is at peace with himself. This is, as we have said, the highest form of peace. We ask here for טובָה וּבְרָכָה. חֵן וָחֶסֶד וְרַחֲמִים, which are all blessings through which a person can recognize that HaKadosh Baruch Hu loves him. By receiving these blessings, he has the wonderful feeling that his soul is at peace with HaKadosh Baruch Hu.

עָלֵינוּ וְעַל כָּל יִשרָאֵל עַמֶּךָ. But we are not satisfied to merely obtain this form of peace for ourselves. Rather, we pray that HaKadosh Baruch Hu may extend this serenity and peace עָלֵינוּ, to all our loved ones and then to all of יִשרָאֵל.

בָּרְכֵנוּ אָבִינוּ כֻּלָּנוּ כְּאֶחָד בְּאור פָּנֶיךָ. HaKadosh Baruch Hu shows us a "friendly face" when we have shalom among ourselves. But, as long as there is discord among us, HaKadosh Baruch Hu shows us an angry face. ... Shalom was the precondition for the giving of the Torah to Israel. ...

כִּי בְאור פָּנֶיךָ נָתַתָּ לָּנוּ ה' אֱלהֵינוּ תּורַת חַיִּים. This description of the Torah as something alive conveys the idea that iwas not meant to be accepted only by individuals. ... And by doing so it also enhances peace between man and man.

וְאַהֲבַת חֶסֶד. The desire to do kindness to others is a special blessing of HaKadosh Baruch Hu, and it is part of the berachah of shalom among people.

וּצְדָקָה וּבְרָכָה וְרַחֲמִים וְחַיִּים Continuing to detail the blessings of shalom among people, we list here: tzedakah, charitable deeds to each other; berachah, each one's presence is a blessing to the other; rachamim and chaim, when one is in need, the other offers him his merciful assistance, thus anabling the one in need to continue living his life normally.

וְשָׁלום The world shalom is mentioned here a second time to add circumstances where people were angry with one another -- for good cause, or not -- and there was a "berogez", a severance of a relationship; nevertheless, the blessing of shalom makes it possible for people to forgive each other -- וְשָׁלום, and to reestablish the shalom.

That is, the first part of the prayer is on the individual ("inner peace") in order to achieve the next stage of doing mitzvos to others. That is, goodness (and good qualities) and grace (in the eyes of those that see us). Once one achieves that (which all require peace of mind), then it will come both naturally to him and as a berachah from HaKadosh Baruch Hu for doing so, that he can do tzedakah, and in turn give life to those in need.

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