Shabbat shalom vs. Good Shabbos

I like to consider myself a Jewish profiler. I remember when everyone was going nuts over racial profiling in airports. I used to do a little profiling of my own – on the streets of my Jewish community every Saturday morning.

I am sure there was a simpler time in the Orthodox community, a time when there was togetherness among Jews and everyone was just trying to earn enough rubles to put some bread on the table, but those times are gone and they have been replaced with an extreme social orthodoxy that likes to judge you right down to how you greet people in the street on Shabbos morning, or shall we say Shabbat.

In general - Sephardim, who always say Shabbat, are excluded - someone who says Shabbat instead of Shabbos is viewed as less religious by those in the more black and white communities. I’m sure it has something to do with trying to be more aligned with Israel by using the modern Hebraic tuf pronunciation instead of the shtetl Suf, but I doubt that most people are thinking so deeply on the matter. I can only say how the snap judgements are made amongst my brethren.

Although I grew up modern orthodox, we always said Good Shabbos, only once I hit yeshiva and realized that orthodoxy was a caste system did I start to make exceptions and learn the rules of the game.

Generally I wish good shabbos to any male wearing a black velvet yarmulke, black hat or furry hat. Generally I wish shabbat shalom to those in knitted or crocheted yarmulkes, baseball hats, or non-black hat fedora style hats. Unfortunately it can get somewhat complex when dealing with the middle of the road yarmulkes like suede and black knitted which may be worn by very religious or non-religious Jews. Generally I wish those who I don’t know where they fall a shabbat shalom, because it’s pretty safe.

I have a feeling that most aren’t profiling, they are sticking with their way of doing it, but for some reason I always feel like making people comfortable and there’s a certain comfort in know that some of your own kind are walking the streets with you, in the same way spotting someone else not wearing a white shirt in a see of white and black can make you feel.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Dan

    I say “Good Shabbos” (in english, not the yiddish “gut”) to anyone unless they are clearly not frum.

    I am not offended when someone tells me shabbat shalom, or whatever, and I presume nobody is offended with my good shabbos. And if they are, then Bleep them, I hope they are offended.

    • Alter Cocker

      how can you hope they are offended when you just said they are?

  • Jordan

    Interesting. I changed my pronunciation after becoming chozer bitshuva originally through an ashkenazi organisation. I was taught ashkenazi shtetl pronunciation and quickly realised that I did not want my language to be associated with those who speak like this.

    I speak, daven and learn with modern Hebrew pronunciation and believe the way of unity for the Jews today is to speak the language of our homeland, the Land of Israel, the inhabitants of which (in the majority) speak with Sephardi pronunciation.

    I am Chabad. I associate very much with Sephardi and Chabad style of being close to H”. I do not like the chassidic and polish pronunciations of things – I mean is that even Hebrew? “Avoisaini” “Elokeini”. What is with that? The reluctance to any sort of accommodation for the sake of being a nation with a common language and land is a big problem. The solution I feel is mandatory education across the board in Israel of at least 5 hours a week “Social Studies” or similar where all kids learn basic manners and derech eretz and what it means to be Jewish and particularly a Jew living in Israel.

    Mashiach now.

    • Dan

      “ashkenazi shtetl pronunciation”

      This may possibly be the stupidest thing I have ever seen in print.

      • http://hatthief.blogspot.com Meir

        I mean Ashkenazim traditionally pronounced like that even in the big cities of Warsaw, Vilna, Krakow, Budapest, Vienna etc. didn’t they?

        • Anonymous

          yep.

      • Meshugah

        But’s it’s true though. A lot of the Haredim in Israel are stuck in the pail(sic), pun intended.

        • Dan

          Ok, so you think they are still living a lifestyle which was suited to the shtetl but not anymore. Perhaps you are correct, and perhaps not. BUT IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH PRONUNCIATION of words! Surely you don’t think that adapting to 2012 includes changing the pronunciation of words.

          In any event, you are wholly ignorant. The haredim of Israel trace their ideology to the old yishuv of jerusalem, not to europe. The leaders of the community after WWII were the leaders who had been there already, and the refugees assimilated largely into that community.

          That is why they are all into studying torah for their entire life, while the chassidic counterparts in america are all working blue collar jobs after a year or two of marriage.

          • Meshugah

            Where were the Haredim before they were at the Old Yishuv?

            Another question… did they skip the part in the Pirkei Avot about combining Torah study with an occupation? Or did they not get to that part yet?

            • Dan

              1. Where were they before? Some were in the old yishuv, and some were refugees from europe. As I noted. And as I noted, they assimilated into the community of the old yishuv, which is why they took its practices. What are you driving at?

              2. Did they skip it? And you, did you skip it? I’m assuming that you spend half your day learning, correct?
              That mishna is one proof. Of course, you need to read the commentaries there to translate “derech eretz” which means “way of the land”, and usually refers to manners.
              And if they are against the mishna, so be it. They have rabbis who are experts on the torah, and are well qualified to tell them how to keep the torah. I’d ask my rabbi before I asked some dude on the internet.

              • Meshugah

                My thinking is their mispronuncation of the tav stems from Yiddish used in the shtetl. In German things plural often end in s and in Hebrew things in the feminine end in ot so they just made it os.

                No need to be fatuous. You seemed to know about the Ashkenazi folsk in Israel. Do they still use Ashkenazi pronunciation in colloquial speech?

                • Dan

                  1. That is a theory. Some historians may have other theories, but they generally are reading the same rabbinic literature that I am.

                  2. They speak hebrew in normal speech like other israelis, with a “taf”. they speak their “old way” in learning and davening.

                • Yochanan

                  In the history of languages, it is very common for a th, as in think, to become a t, as in Tom or an s, as in Sam.

                  Originally it was th (without a dagesh). Yemenites kept this pronunciation. Sfardim changed this to a t. Ashkenazim changed it to an s.

                  Interestingly when many native Hebrew speakers try to say th, they say s.

                  • Nesya

                    Actually I find most Israelis will say “z” or “d” instead of a “th”.

                    • Yochanan

                      Well it depends on what the English word is.

                      Th in “tooth” is voiceless. Therefore it will change to an s or t (both voiceless) by many non-native speakers (who don’t have that sound in their native language).

                      Th in “this” is voiced. Therefore it will change to an z or d (both voiced) by many non-native speakers (who don’t have that sound in their native language).

          • Charnie

            A lot of the old Yishuv traces its roots back to the Vilna Gaon, who sent them to Yerushalyim. I could be wrong, but wouldn’t the Gra have said “Gut Shabbos”?

            • Wayne Baumann

              Not for nothing, is not Hebrew the source of our language in ages past? Who would moses, in blessed memory, understand more accurately and clearly if we spoke with him today?

    • Yochanan

      For the last time, Modern Israeli pronunciation is not Sefardi. It is the most European sounding of all Semitic languages.

      • Michaltastik

        IDK about all you but I always thought modern Hebrew seemed to have a strongish French influence, except for the CH letter which obviously sounds semitic. My Muslim friend knows that sound, too.

    • Dovid

      On the contrary Jordan, the ongoing destruction of our Ashkenazi (and Yiddish) Jewish culture is a huge tragedy. Across the religious spectrum everyone is on the bandwagon to daven with fake Israeli accents, eat falafel and wear stupid Tzhal yarmulkes. That’s supposed to be better?

      People who associate Ashkenazi pronunciation with some negative shtetl stereotype of the weak sniveling Jew are basically accepting the antisemitic stereotypes of those who tried to destroy us.

      • Meshugah

        I think the consternation stems from the sense of entitlement Ashkenazim, particularly Ashkenazi Haredim have. Like Jordan said, he doesn’t want to be associated with people who speak that way and neither do I. Speaking modern Hebrew (which is to some degree Sephardic) helps bridge the divide between Diaspora and Israeli Jews.

        No doubt, there is a rich culture of European Jews with Yiddish literature and theater. But it’s time to get with the times. They’d also do us a big favor not wearing Polish winter clothing in the Israeli summer smelling up the whole place.

        • Yochanan

          I’m not sure about Israel, but in the US you should see how much they crank up in AC in Chasidishe places in the summer. Living in denial, if you ask me.

        • Pamela

          As a non-religious daughter of a Jewish mother whose family came to the US from Russia and Poland via Canada, this is really insulting. No matter what brand of origin a Jew is, when I encounter one, I consider them all my mishpokah. I am shocked by this attitude.

    • A. Nuran

      And we sneer at the Hindus for their caste system…

  • Shlomo

    Just ask Congregation Darchei Noam of Oceanside. If you don’t have an MD or went to Yeshiva – they want nothing to do with you. Shabbat Shalom or Good Shabbos makes no difference.

    • Outskirt

      The Young Israel of Oceanside is the same way. If you are not a doctor, you’d might as well be an untouchable.

      • Moty

        Shlomo, I don’t know whether this is actually true or not, but if it is, this saddens me greatly. My great grandfather started that shul in his basement many years ago and he was a man who loved all Jews, regardless of their frumkeit or status.

        • Outskirt

          The community has changed quite a bit since the days of your great-grandfather. They ignore their “unglamorous” neighbors, no matter how nice/interesting/intelligent/nonjudgmental/wonderful they may be.

      • Telz Angel

        So it is Shabbat across Oceanside or Shabbos across Oceanside? You know, when a bunch of shuls get together every year and pretend there is achdus.

    • Michaltastik

      I find that if you’re modern Orthodox you’re a piece a crap if you don’t have a fancy job. If you’re Yeshivish/Chasidic, you’re a piece of crap unless you have yichus, guys might be forgiven if they are BT raised with enough affiliation that their Hebrew is fine and they become a rabbi, after all, in some places, 95% of the guys have smicha.

    • Avrumy

      OCEANSIDE???? Who the heck is Oceanside to be snooty? They are not Woodmere and never will be Woodmere!!!

      • dovi

        at last, some real humor … btw – good Shabbos…

  • Moty

    I’m a Happy Shabbos guy myself.

  • AH

    Much like Dan I say “Good Shabbos.” You know why? Because I’m American!

  • Samael

    For my part, I say “good shabbos,” “gut shabbos,” or “shabbat shalom” depending on what I feel like at the moment I say it. Sometimes just to be a contrarian I’ll say the opposite of what I believe people expect, but hey, I could have gotten it wrong.

  • Chaya

    It can also be a generational thing.

    My mother says Gut Shabbos. She isn’t remotely frum. Her grandparents, though, spoke Yiddish, and her parents sent her to Jewish programs run by a pro-Communist Jewish organization that wanted to maintain Jewish culture but didn’t teach Hebrew because it wasn’t interested in either religious texts or Israel.

  • http://yeshivaforum.wordpress.com OfftheDwannaB

    I think that saying things to random Jews on shabbos is assur. I like to pretend they don’t exist. No eye contact if possible. And forget about shaking hands. What if they’re gay and I’m causing them to be nichshal? Better not to have any contact with anyone ever.

  • danielGA

    nahh you gotta say gut shabboysse with the tof and the oy because that’s what moses said. it’s in the torah, if you take all of the last letters of the parshot and put them backwards it spells “gut shabboysse” and then it says that those who don’t say it like that are liberal feminist goyim apikorsusdik shegetzim who are all headed straight to gehennom for a 13 month special trip reserved for the worst of the goyim!

    i know it because yehuda levin told me.

    • Michaltastik

      Dontcha mean it’s in the TOY-Rah, not in the Torah?

      • Yochanan

        Of course. The yod is invisible.

  • Meshugah

    Isn’t there something in either Joshua or Judges about one of the tribes not pronouncing the shin as “shin” and only as “sin” and one of the other tribes was having a feud with them who said shin as both “sin” and “shin.” So the tribe that said shin both ways would as a test ask people to say “shibolet” (I think it means grain) and if they said it “sibolet” then off with their heads.

    If anyone could elaborate on that it would be appreciated.

    I’ve been accustomed to saying “Shabbat Shalom.” My poking fun at the Ashkenazi pronunciation is well-intended, this is frum satire after all right? I do have some degree consternation with the frum/Ashkenazi community where I live because they hold a monoply on kashrut and at times have been downright nasty. So perhaps that explains my adherence to Sephardic pronunciation and minhag.

  • Yochanan

    What about those who say “Shabbat Shalom Umvorakh” or answer “Umvorakh” to another’s “Shabbat Shalom”?

    Further, most of the Modox Ashkenazi people I’ve met say “Good Shabbos”. If they say “Shabbat Shalom”, they either lived in Israel for a quite some time, or are planning on making ‘Aliya.

  • Stan

    I believe modern Hebrew was advanced as a means to achieve achdut or unity. Unfortunately, we have not achieved that to this point. I like Shabbat Shalom, insofar as both words are actually Hebrew as opposed to a German word or an English word with roots in German. I do pronounce the tuf as a T, once again because that is the modern Hebrew convention. As I walk to my minyan and back home (3 miles each way) each Shabbat and Yom Tov I encounter dozens of fellow Jews who I greet in that manner. Some reply in the Ashkenaz manner. Unfortunately, others do not reply even acknowledge me.

    I am not surprised that we are still in Galut.

  • Isak

    Good Sabbath!

  • http://avivasadventure.tumblr.com Viva

    Then you get the crazy BT [read: me] that gets into that awkward situation and says “SHABBOS SHALOM!”

  • http://www.cherylpodolsky.com Cheryl

    I must admit that I experienced a bit of confusion when I first read the words, “Mishloat Manot” in our local Chabad newsletter. I had been raised hearing it called, “Shalach Munis,” and honestly expected that with Chabad, it would be the same. And “Gut Shabbos” was always a given. Shabbat Shalom seems more widely used in more contemporary circles, but I find it really lacks something. I guess it’s whatever one is comfortable with.

  • Anonymous

    Heh, I gotta say nothing like this has ever crossed my mind… I just say “good Shabbos!” … or Shabbat Shalom. However the mood strikes me.

    Shalom y’all!

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  • Pesach

    Could we say it’s a Gud Shabbos if people don’t know how to greet anymore? What do we expect to receive if not a Shabbat Shalom?

    This following exchange has happened to me a couple times:
    “Gud Shabbos”
    “How do you know?”
    “What?”
    “How do you know? You said it’s a good Shabbos. How do you know?”
    “Oh! It was a blessing not a statement. May you have a good Shabbos”
    “Ahhh” (click)

    Ever happened to you?

  • Yerachmiel Bruchya haLevi

    When you start pronouncing the THOF correctly (Shabbath Shalom) and the Jimmel (Gimel with a Dagesh) we can speak of “correct Pronounciation”.

    Each of the twelve shvatim (tribes) had their own “accent” as well as their own “version” of the spoken and written language. Look at some discussions in Gemorah of whether certain words, pronounced by a person from a certain city or area, was OK (as opposed to same pronunciation from somewhere else)

    I know that when I got married, I said “Mikudeth Lee” and raised a bunch of eyebrows (in Crown Heights); after which I put on a talis Gadol (with brucha) and covered first myself then both of us!!

    • Alter Cocker

      Your mistake was getting married in Crown Heights.

  • Anonymous

    I was raised Ashkenazi and married into a Sephardic Israeli family. My brother in law practically throws a fit when I wish him a Gut Shabbos…. he says “No, the CORRECT way is shabbat shalom…” Hahaha !!

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  • http://1pahogg@gmail.com Paul

    Shalom,

    Jus wanted to check the spelling on Shabbos and bumped into your site, Thank you for helping me understand the difference between both Greeting’s, and the spelling of Shabbos.

    Paul
    Auckland
    NZ :))

  • shmuel

    Surely neither “gut shabbes” nor “shabbat shalom” are “correct”, but rather they are dialects of the same.
    Akin to the “tomaaato-tomayto” arguement or “pavement” vs. “sidewalk” – these are identifying ways for various groupings. Thus it would be incorrect for a Brit to say sidewalk unless he lived amongst Americans.
    So in Kiryas Yoel gut shabbes is the right call, whereas in other areas any or all might go.

    As for pronunciation – tav (why taf? written ?? in Hebrew) for example is only guessable how King David might have pronounced it. An educated guess would involve looking at the Yemenites as they probably have the longest existing chain of tradition, or the Arabs who preserved their language over the generations.
    Both have T and TH (like baTH) but not S. The S seems to be a late European dialect for this letter.
    Likewise Gimmel – G or a gutteral R without a daggesh (Yemen) or J (Arabic).
    Daleth – D or TH (like THen) without a daggesh (hence one can be “maarich” on the daleth of ??? in the shama, echaththth).
    As for samech I once heard a theory that the correct way of pronouncing it is like the Welsh “Ll” – THL with the TH done with the tongue at the side of the mouth!

    But much much more important than T or S etc is the accentuating of words correctly. For some reason ashkenazim insist on pronouncing most words deliberately wrong (yeSHivah instead of yeshiVAH, KOsher instead of koSHER, SHAbbes instead of shabbES/shabbAT, haKODesh BARuch instead of hakoDOSH baRUCH, and hundreds of others). How do we know what’s the right way? From the ta’amei mikra (nigun-trop) of the Torah which accentuates the right syllable.
    Usually it might not matter to the meaning, with one notable exception – the use of the vav that changes past to future:
    ????? – aHAVti = I loved, but ?????? – v’aHAVti and I loved whereas v’ahavTI means and I WILL love.
    In the shma there are many examples ????? ????? ????? ????? – if one misaccentuates these words he probably does not fulfil the mitzvah of shma as he changes the meaning (I have given rain instead of I will give rain), thus distorting God’s promises completely!

  • shmuel

    Sorry, I realise that the blog doesn’t support Hebrew characters which all appear as ???
    I hope the gist is understood.
    The letter Tav is written Tav vav in Hebrew so no reason to call it “taf”.

  • Ezra

    A similiar issue is found amongst various Islamic communities throughout the world who have different traditions of pronouncing Arabic in their prayers.

  • Kim

    Should it matter? Just like we have the Queens English and American English, they all say the same thing, just in a different way. Why should anyone be offend how someone wished them a peaceful Sabbath is said. If you ask me, there are more important things to worry about with regards to our people.

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  • Wayne Baumann

    What is proper speech and pronunciation by definition? Is not Hebrew the source of our language in ages past? Who would Reuben, Simeon, Judah, Isacher, Zebulum, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Ephraim and Manesseh, Noah, Moses, in blessed memory, understand more accurately and clearly if we spoke with them today?

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