In these last minutes before Shabbat begins, we wanted to wish you a Shabbat Shalom.
I thought I’d greet you with this phrase in as many languages as possible, but as it turns out, the actual words are the least complicated part.
There are whole subcultures around how one behaves when saying it, the accent one uses, your type of eye contact, length of greeting, and how you size up the other person.
There are greeters who run the gamut from a quickie drive-by, mumbled, “shbbs,” to long extended versions that say it multiple times or turn it into a new-best-friend hug.
Timing can be a problem, seeing someone approaching on the sidewalk who you will certainly greet, but you’ve made eye contact too soon, and it would be rude to look away.
Frum young boys sexually harass young girls with it, “Sha-butt shalom!,” and – being the subtle creatures young boys are – motion towards her frum behind.
Some will pick the “modern Hebraic tuf pronunciation instead of the shtetl suf” of the Shabbat/Shobbos options, depending on how they Jewishly “profile” the other person.
So however you choose to greet one another tonight, we wish you a restful Sabbath:
Gut Shabbos. ভাল সব্বাত. Bon Sabbat. Buen Shabat. добра шабат. Bydd Shabbat da. 良い安息日. Καλή Σαμπάτ. Geras Šabatas. Dobre Szabat. Nzuri Shabbati.