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Not singing Shalom Aleichem


Hello. I asked my Rav if I could be Matir Neder singing Shalom Aleichem on Friday night thereby following Rav Yaakov Emden and the Chazon Ish who found it inappropriate. He told me I could, but now I am wondering what to do with my family. Do i let them sing it? Guests? Should I go straight in to Eishes Chail? What’s the best way to handle this? Thank you!


Singing Shalom Aleichem is a wide spread and accepted minhag in Klal Yisroel. It isn’t clear who wrote it, but there are rishonim that allude to it. (see Likras Shabbos chapter 16 ftnt. 28). It is universal minhag followed by the Sefardim Askenazim, and Chassidim alike, and it is brought in all of the siddurim. There are some who question how we are allowed to say the words “Borchuni L’shalom” because we don’t ask things from the malachim. However see Siddur Hagra, that he writes there that although it is asking the malachim for something, but it is permitted in this case because according to the midrash, the malachim are supposed to give a bracha if the house is set for shabbos etc. It is known that the Chofetz Chaim said it. Also see Orchos Yosher 1- pg. 203, that even though the Chazon Ish didn’t say it, but the Steipler did.

Regarding your question, I understand your concern. I don’t think it is good for the chinuch of your children that they should see that you should not do a universally accepted minhag, because of a singular opinion against it. This can cause them to start to question all of the minhagim, you decided not to do this minhag, and they may decide that they don’t like other minhagim. Even if you do say it, you will be doing like the overwhelming majority of the poskim. Therefore it would be good idea for you to let your children sing it. If you are really bothered by the terminology of “Borichuni L’shalom”, and “Tzeischem L’shalom”, see siddur Hagra that “Boricuni…” isn’t an issue, and regarding Tzeischem L’shalom, there are those who say B’tzeischem L’shalom, therefore it isn’t telling them to leave, but when you will decide to leave, it should be in peace.

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