Greetings and Congratulations

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Although Jews have adopted the languages of the countries in which they live, they have always tended to retain traditional forms of greetings and congratulations either in Hebrew or Yiddish and occasionally in Aramaic, and some of these forms of greetings are adaptations of biblical verses while others are taken from the liturgy. Many are merely the expression of an emotion in Hebrew or Yiddish without any literary source. In the list below the most common forms of greetings are given; the list does not include the many variations which sometimes exist nor does it include simple translations such as boker tov (= good morning). (See Table: Greetings and Congratulations.)

HebrewLiteral meaningOccasions when saidOrigin and/or reference
1.Shalom or Shalom lekhaשָׁלוֹם
שָׁלוֹם לְךָ
Peace to you.
As a common greeting equivalent to "hello" or "goodbye"
"Good day"
Gen. 29:6; 43:27;
Ex. 18:7
Judg. 6:24
I Sam. 16:4
2.Shalom aleikhemשָׁלוֹם עֲלֵיכֶםPeace to you.Same as above
3.Aleikhem shalomעֲלֵיכֶם שָׁלוֹםTo you, peace.Response to greeting No. 2
4.Barukh ha-baבָּרוּךְ הַבָּאBlessed be the one who comes.A common greeting, equivalent to "welcome." A child brought to the circumcision ceremony and a bride and groom approaching the wedding canopy are also greeted thus. The response to the greeting is No. 5 or 6.
5.Barukh ha-nimẓaאָצמִּנַה ךור ָּבBlessed be the one (already) present.Response to greeting No. 4Ps. 118:26
6.Barukh ha-yoshevבָּרוּךְ הַיּוֹשֵבBlessed be the one who is sitting.Response to greeting No. 4. Used by a guest to the host sitting at the head of the table.
7.Shalom berakhah ve-tovahשָׁלוֹם בְּרָכָה וְטוֹבָהPeace, blessing and (all) good (to you).General blessing used by Sephardi Jews.
8.Ḥazak u-varukhחֲזק וּבָרוּךְBe stong and blessed.Same as above Also used in Sephardi synagogues to a person who returns to his seat after having performed liturgical functions.
9.Yishar koḥakha or Yasher ko'akhיִישַׁר כֹּחֲךָMay your strength (increase) go straight.Congratulations for success and achievement. In traditional synagogues also extended to a person who has been called up to the Torah reading.
10.Ḥazak ve-emaẓחֲזַק וֶאֱמָץBe strong and of good courage.Congratulations for success and achievement. Also extended to a bar mitzvah boy after he has finished reading the haftarah.e.g., Deut 31:23
11.Biz hundert un tsvantsik(Yiddish)(May you live) until the age of 120.A wish for long life.
12.Tsu gezunt(Yiddish)Good health.To a person who has sneezed; also to someone convalescing.
13.a. Li-veri'utלִבְרִיאוּתGood health.Same as above
b. Asutaאָסוּתָא (Aramaic)Good health.Same as above
14.Refu'ah shelemahרְפוּאָה שְׁלֵמָה(May you have) a complete recovery.Wish to a sick person.
15.a. Shabbat shalom Gut shabesשַׁבַּת שָׁלוֹם (Yiddish)Good Sabbath.The Sabbath greeting
b. Shabbat hi milizok u-refu'ah kerovah lavoשַׁבָּת הִיא מִלִּזְעֹק וּרְפוּאָה קְרוֹבָה לָבוֹאIt is Sabbath and forbidden to make supplications but may you soon get well.When visiting the sick on the SabbathShab. 12a
16.a. Shavu'a tov A gute vokhשָׁבוּעַ טוֹב (Yiddish)A good week.Saturday night at the end of the Sabbath
17.Gut khoydesh(Yiddish)A good new month.On new moons
18.Gut Yontev(Yiddish) corrupted from the Hebrew Yom TovA good holiday (to you).On holidays and festivals
19.a. Mo'adim lesimḥahמוֹעֲדִים לְשִׂמְחָהJoyous holidays.On festivals. The response to which is No. 20.
b. Ḥag same'ahחַג שָׂמֵחַJoyous holiday.
20.Ḥaggim uzemannim lesasonחַגִּים וּזְמַנִּים לְשָׂשֹׂוֹןHolidays and festivals for joy and gladness.Response to No. 19a and 19bThis wording is from the prayer for the three festivals.
21.Ve-hayita akh same'aḥוְהָיִיתָ אַךְ שָׂמֵחַYou shall have nothing but joy.On Sukkot, when visiting a person in his sukkahDeut. 16:15
22.a. Shanah tovahשָׁנָה טוֹבָהA good year (to you), or its more ample version:During the Days of Penitence
b. Le-shanah tovah tikkatevu (vetehatemu)(לְשָׁנָה טוֹבָה תִּכָּתֵבוּ (וְתֵחָתֵמוּMay you be inscribed and sealed) for a good year (i.e. in the Book of Life), or its shorter form:The wording is from the prayers *Amidah and *Avinu Malkenu
c. Ketivah tovahכְּתִיבָה טוֹבָהA good inscription (in the Book of Life).
23.Gam le-marגַם לְמַרTo you too.Greetings in Nos. 22a, b, and c, as well as 24a and b
On the Day of Atonement, the day of "Sealing the book."Wording from the prayer book.
24.a. Hatimah tovahחֲתִימָה טוֹבָהA sealing for good (to you), or its more ample version:
b. Gemar hatimah tovahגְּמַר חֲתִימָה טוֹבָהA propitious final sealing (to you) (in the Book of Life).As above. This form can be used until Hoshana Rabba.
25.a. Mazzal tovמַזָּל טוֹבGood luck (i.e., may you enjoy a favorable zodiac constellation).For joyous occasions, especially childbirth, betrothal, wedding, bar-mitzvah, etc.…Ashkenazi custom.
b. Be-siman tovבְּסִימָן טוֹבSame as aboveSame as aboveSephardi custom.
26.Barukh tihyehבָּרוּךְ תִּהְיֶהBe you blessed (too), i.e., the same to you).Response to Mazzal tov wish
27.Le-ḥayyim orלְחַיִּיםTo life.On taking a drink, usually alcoholic.Shab. 67b.
28.Le-ḥayyim tovim u-le-shalomלְחַיִּים טוֹבִים וּלְשָׁלוֹםGood life and peace (to you).More ample form of No. 27.
29.Ha-Makom yenahem etkhem be-tokh avelei Ẓiyyon vi-Yrushalayimהַמָּקוֹם יְנַחֵם אֶתְכֶם בְּתוֹךְ אֲבֵלֵי צִיּוֹן וִירוּשָׁלַיִםMay the Lord comfort you among all mourners for Zion and Jerusalem.To a mourner during the week of mourning.See: *Mourning
30.Ad bi'at ha-go'elעַד בִּיאַת הַגּוֹאֵל(May you live) until the coming of the Messiah.On the yearly anniversary of the death of a relative.Among German Jews.
31.Ad me'ah shanah(עַד מֵאָה שָׁנָה (עמ"שUntil a hundred years.In the heading of a private letter, after the addressee's name
32.Zekhuto yagen aleinu(זְכוּתוֹ יָגֵן עָלֵינוּ (זי"עMay his merit protect us.After name of distinguished deceased; usually ḥasidic.
33.Zikhrono li-verakhah or Zekher ẓaddik liverakhah(זִכְרוֹנוֹ לִבְרָכָה (ז"ל) זֵכֶר צַדִּיק לִבְרָכָה (זצ"לMay his memory be for a blessing.
May the memory of the pious be for a blessing.
After name of deceased; also in speech.
34.Alav ha-shalom(עָלָיו הַשָלוֹם (ע"הPeace be on him.As above.
35.Natreih Raḥamana u-varkhei(נַטְרֵיה רַחֲמָנָא וּבַרְכֵיה (נר"ו (Aramaic)May God guard and bless him (you).Written form of address.
36.She-yihyeh le-orekh yamim tovim amen(שׁיּחיֶה לְאֹרֶך יָמִים טוֹבִים אָמֵן (שליט"אMay he (you) live for many good days, Amen.As above.