Inspired by the "This American Life" podcast cited in this question:

I've certainly seen it written (although I cannot recall the exact sources) that "Shalom" is one of the names of God.

Does this mean that one must treat it like other names of God? (i.e. not erasing it, discarding a document containing it only through special means, not saying the name in vain) Or does it require no more respect than any other word?

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    For the record, I recommend that you not take everything you hear about Judaism or Jewish culture in a Shalom Auslander story at face value. I've noticed multiple times in which it seems to me that he's applying some dramatic license to make his stories more interesting.
    – Isaac Moses
    May 4, 2012 at 16:03
  • @IsaacMoses, Agreed. This story just got me wondering about what the halacha actually is with regard to this.
    – jake
    May 4, 2012 at 16:08

1 Answer 1


The ultimate source is Shabbos 10b, citing Judg. 6:24, ויקרא לו ה' שלום.

For certain purposes it is indeed treated like a bona fide name of Hashem; thus, the Gemara there says (and this is cited as halachah in Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 84:1)) that one may not greet another in the bathhouse with the word "Shalom," just as one may not recite blessings or words of Torah there.

Baer Heitev (:2) and Mishnah Berurah (:6) discuss whether this also applies to calling a person whose name is Shalom. M.B. ends up saying that technically it is permissible, but that "one who fears Heaven should be strict" and change the name somehow, like by eliding the final mem or changing it to a nun. (Say, Shalom, if you read this: what do people call you in the mikvah?)

He also goes on to say that it is best not to write "Shalom" in private letters either, for the same reason. This is further discussed in Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah 276:13 and the commentaries there; Shach :16 says that most people aren't careful about this, though in Nekudos Hakesef he questions whether it is correct to do so. (Pischei Teshuvah :28 notes that there's a difference in this regard whether one uses the word "Shalom" as a greeting - in which case he indeed presumably intends to call down Hashem's blessings on the other person - vs. when one writes about "shalom" as a concept, like speaking of world peace.)

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    Isn't this also in the 3rd or 4th perek of Brachot in a discussion of whether or not it's appropriate to say Shalom to someone in a bathhouse?
    – minhag
    May 4, 2012 at 17:53
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    @minhag: Berachos 24b talks about not speaking or thinking words of Torah in a bathhouse, but I don't see anything there about saying Shalom.
    – Alex
    May 4, 2012 at 18:33
  • @minhag – Look at the Rambam and/or Tur/Sh.A. on that sugya. Dec 3, 2013 at 22:14

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