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Shalom Rav Prayer

May You grant abundant peace to Your people Israel forever. For you are Sovereign, Master of all peace. May it be pleasing in Your sight to bless Your people Israel at every time and in every moment with Your peace.

Blessed are You, Adonai; You bless Your people Israel with peace.

The final prayer of the tefila is a prayer for peace. In the afternoon and evening services it is shalom rav, and in the morning it is sim shalom.

The word shalom is, of course, the universal Hebrew expression of greeting. In Israel it is customary to tell someone shalom (in the sense of “peace be upon you”) when bidding him/her hello or goodbye. Indeed, when Hebrew began to be spoken widely in the early 20th century, people began to say shalom shalom for “goodbye” in order to distinguish it from “hello.” (Otherwise, some humorists have suggested, we wouldn’t know whether we were coming or going!)

The root sh l m ש ל ם actually means “wholeness, “completeness,” or “harmony.” We find it in the word l’shalem “to pay”—i.e., to make someone whole. The final line of the kadish reads: “May the One Who creates shalom harmony on high, bring shalom harmony upon us and upon all Israel.”

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