The Hebrew word “Shalom” is most often translated into the English word “peace.” That is an adequate translation; however, it does not go to the deeper understanding of Shalom as the Jewish people understand it.
Shalom is used as a greeting and a departure when encountering a fellow believer. For me it is a marvelous way of establishing a relationship with another. In the greeting of Shalom you are seeking a warm, positive, caring interaction cementing a harmonious balance in relationship.
The basic translation of Shalom is harmony, which may imply peace. Most often we understand “peace” as the cessation of violence. For me, that is a limited understanding. Yes, we had “peace” during the Cold War; however, we did not have harmony. There was tension and distrust in our worldwide relationships; there was no coming together to create a harmonious relationship.
Today after the violence against democracy and it’s symbol (the USA Capital building) we have “peace” the cessation violence, but we do not have harmony in the country.
Shalom goes deeper than the simple peace of non violence, physical or relational. Shalom, “Harmony” implies caring for others, promoting justice in treatment of others, showing love and mercy for others. Greeting one another with Shalom is to say we are in tune with you and affirm a balance in our relationship. It is the affirmation of a relationship far deeper than simply not having a non violent one.
To have Shalom in our lives we need to live the Great Commandments to love in our relationships. Amen.