שלום/Shalom is a simple word with a great depth of meaning. It means peace, hello, goodbye, and even carries a connotation of justice in modern Israel.
שלום/Shalom is not simply an absence of strife or conflict; you may picture it as the prosperity, or blessing, in time that allows for a vineyard to grow, mature, and bring forth fruit. Captured in this picture is also your well-being; as you need good health to tend the vineyard.
In modern Hebrew, when greeting someone, asking them “How are you?” the question goes far deeper than these three words convey in English.
To Men: מה שלומך/ma shlomcha?
To Women: מה שלומך/ma shlomech?
Translated as “How are you?” the question is far more interesting, and much more loving. How so?
Literally, you are asking, “What is your peace?,” or “What is your well-being?” It is like asking, “How is your vineyard? Are you well enough to tend to it? Do you have water? Time? Help? What is the lack disturbing your peace? What is the condition of your life? How is your peace?
While Western sensibilities often restrain us from answering with our list of problems or concerns, this simple Hebrew question, in its meaning, wants to know. It is a question of deep, loving concern, as it speaks not only to their labor, but their harvest. What is your peace?
It is a question of community, responsibility, and faith.
The question wants to know, in order to join in the supply that will help bring your crop to harvest, “And the peace that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Messiah Yeshua” (Phil. 4:6; cf. Phil. 4:19).
Be well. Shalom.