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The basis of the song Shalom Aleichem sung Friday night seems to be the Gemara (Shabbat 119b) about the two angels who accompany a person home on Friday night.

This question discusses why each stanza is repeated 3 times.

My question is: Who authored the song and how did it become so popular that everybody sings it nowadays?

The Avodath Yisroel "Behr" Siddur simply says that it is of "very recent" vintage, author unknown, and that it doesn't exist in any of the early Siddurim.

  • IMSMC I believe Rav Moshe Feinstein wrote in a teshuva that he had the family custom of refraining from singing it, tracing it back to Volozhin, because of the halachic problem of "praying" to angels. – Loewian Jul 9 '18 at 13:48
  • Everybody does not sing it. See here. And here: – Alex Jul 9 '18 at 15:36
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    "Regarding Shalom ‘Alekhem: HaRav Ya’abess z’l (see Sidur Beth Ya’aqov) pointed out many problems regarding this song (singing to angels, expressions that do not make sense, etc.). It is based on a literal understanding of an Agadic statement (TB Shabath 119b) which I view as misguided. It is, by the way, a very recent addition to the sidur. I find the song strange and perturbing, and have not sung it for about 30 years. I do not intend to include it in the NEY sidur." – Alex Jul 9 '18 at 15:37
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This piyut was not found in earlier sidurim, and the custom to say it is from the Kabbalists. We find it first in the book תיקוני שבת based on the work of the Kabbalist רבי אברהם הלוי ברוכים student of רמ״ק and אר״י (biography). The custom became widespread in all of Klal Yisroel to say it before Kiddush of Friday night and to begin the Shabbos meal with it. (ליקוטי מהרי״ח)

Taken from ‏הסידור המפורש (החדש) לשבת קודש

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    I think Likutei Mahariach is only brought as a source for the last sentence of the paragraph, which you didn't quote – b a Jul 9 '18 at 13:57
  • It does seem like that- do you happen to have the source for confirmation @b a ? – Dr. Shmuel Jul 9 '18 at 23:39
  • No, it's just my sense, since all the other lines are supported by sources other than the Mahariach, which I doubt the Mahariach would have brought – b a Jul 10 '18 at 8:49

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