The famous song Shalom Aleichem (though I am not sure what connection the Yiddish author has with shabbos) starts each verse greeting a group of sailors (Shalom Aleichem malachei) since מלח means sailor. In any case, why are sailors specifically honored for shabbos?

Note that it could not have been the author because the song was written long before he was born.

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3 Answers 3


The sailors are honored as thanks to them we have fish for the Shabbos Seuda.


Oy! You've heard it incorrectly, I'm afraid. The term is Meluchei Hasheret - the people that serve salt.

This refers to the special servants that many of the arbbanim had in their home. When they made Hamotzi, the servants came with the salt for the bread.


We honour the holy sailors of Beishan, who would not undertake even short sea voyages on Erev Shabbat, for fear of coming to desecrate Shabbat.

Pesachim 50b:

בני ביישן נהוג דלא הוו אזלין מצור לצידון במעלי שבתא

The residents of Beishan were accustomed not to travel from Tyre to Sidon on Shabbat eve.

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