Who wrote Shalom Aleichem and Eishes Chayil? Is it minhag Yisrael?

  • 2
    and why is each verse said three times? and why do my inlaws only say each verse twice?
    – Jeremy
    Apr 16, 2010 at 16:37
  • regarding shalom aleikhem: why do some people sing each stanza only once (per week)? Mar 25, 2012 at 5:05
  • Is what Minhag Yisrael?
    – Double AA
    Mar 15, 2015 at 4:14

4 Answers 4


As Isaac pointed out, Eishes Chayil itself is a Biblical passage.

The practice of saying both of these on Friday night is found in Siddur Shaar Hashamayim (by the Shelah Hakadosh, R' Yeshayah Halevi Horowitz), first printed in 1717. I don't know whether there are earlier printed sources for this custom.

  • 1
    forum.otzar.org/forums/download/file.php?id=22466 Nov 15, 2015 at 19:42

Eishet Chayil is the last 22 verses of Mishlei/Proverbs, which was written by Shlomo Hamelech (King Solomon).

  • The named author in that chapter is King Lemuel...
    – Double AA
    Apr 21, 2013 at 18:10

Shalom Aleichem was written in the 17th century by Mekubalim the source from wikpedia According to the Talmud, two angels accompany people on their way back home from synagogue on Friday night — a good angel and a evil angel. If the house has been prepared for the Shabbat ("the lamp has been lit, the table set, and his couch spread"), the good angel gives a blessing that the next Shabbat will be the same, and the evil angel is forced to respond "Amen". but if the home is not prepared for Shabbat, the evil angel wishes that the next Shabbat will be the same, and the good angel is forced to respond "Amen"


It has become the minhag for many of Ashkenazic background, but to say a custom started in the past 500 years is a Minhag for all Yisrael you would need to prove that no Torah observant Jew doesn't have the minhag to say them.

What I mean is that I am unaware of anyone (who is observant and has a tradition) that specifically does not say them. If everyone, all Ashkenazim, Sfardim, Teimanim, Parsim, Kurdistanim, Roma'im, etc. each tradition, if all of their entire group has the minhag to say Sholom Aleichem and Eishes Chayil then it clearly is Minhag Yisrael.

But if you find one group that there are those within it who do not have the minhag then for them it cannot be considered minhag yisrael.

Rambam in his preface to his Commentary on the Mishna says that one who does not keep Minhag Yisrael, on him the verse is applied "One who breaks down a fence will be bit by a snake." There is much to consider regarding the implications of this statement. Does he mean a universally-Jewish minhag? Or does he mean any minhag that has valid roots in our tradition and that one's forebears have kept? Or does he mean the valid minhag of the community one belongs to?

There is much written on this subject and I will need to do some review and some more reseach to present it properly.

  • Do y6ou mean to address the fact that some Sfardim dont say Tzeschem Lshalom> Apr 16, 2010 at 11:41
  • YS, I wrote this late at night, so I just did a major edit to explain myself. Take a look.
    – Yahu
    Apr 16, 2010 at 16:57
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    also, IIRC, some Briskers and some Teimanim do not recite barkhuni leshalom based on RMB"M, who holds that is avoda zara. Mar 25, 2012 at 5:07
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    the Balaadi and Dordaim yemenites ie those who strictly follow the Rambam do not recite shalom aleichem
    – user9105
    Mar 15, 2015 at 0:06
  • You are misrepresenting Rambam. Every example he gives is of a formal takkana; not a nice thing that some people do (that wasnt formally instructed by the rabbanan). Although he mentions minhagot, he almost certainly is alluding to something like minhag neviim in Sukkah 44a, which is another form of horaa; see Rabbenu Hananel there. Or he is discussing minhag hakhamim (See Hilkhot Berakhot 11:16) which again refers to something formally instituted by rabanan, and has no bearing on this case. Rambam was not a fan of all new customs, and depending on the case, allowed people to reject them.
    – mevaqesh
    Nov 9, 2017 at 15:16

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