- Question: [Sunday, 6th Iyar, 5781]
This past Shabbos I wished somebody a Shabbat Shalom in the morning prior to prayers and he told me that before Davening we say “good Shabbos” and not “Shabbat shalom.” Is this true and what is the reason?
Indeed, the person is correct that it is accustomed [and at times even forbidden from the letter of the law] not to say the word shalom prior to Davening Shacharis, and therefore instead of saying “Shabbat shalom” one should say “good Shabbos” and the like. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of this.
[To note, that at times it is forbidden to say any greeting to someone prior to Davening, such as if he is going out of his way to greet him, and hence even saying the words “goods Shabbos” would only be permitted in cases that greeting someone prior to prayer is permitted. Likewise, to note that according to some opinions it is permitted for one to greet someone with Shalom if he already said the morning blessings and is not going out of his way to do so. Although, practically, those who follow the rulings of Admur are never to use the word Shalom when greeting someone prior to the morning prayers even if he already said the morning blessings and is not going out of his way to greet him.]
Explanation: The Talmud and Poskim state that prior to the morning prayer it is forbidden to get up in order to greet someone and that this prohibition applies especially against using the word shalom being that this is the name of God and it is improper to greet man of flesh and blood with God’s name prior to greeting God himself through prayer. This prohibition is hinted in the verse “Refrain from the man who has a soul in his mouth, as what is he worth”. This verse is saying that what worth is there to man that one should precede his honor to G-d’s honor. Now, while it is true that the above only applies if one goes out of his way to greet someone while if one happens to meet someone on the street or in shul, then from the letter of the law he may greet him even with the words Shalom, nonetheless the custom is not to use the word Shalom in the greeting even in such a case in order to serve as a reminder that one may not delay prayer, and rather one is to use alternative greeting statements. Likewise, although according to some opinions it is permitted even to say the word shalom if one already said the morning blessings, nonetheless Admur rules that it is forbidden to do so and seemingly the same applies even when meeting someone in Shul. Accordingly, it stands correct that one may likewise not greet someone with the cordial Shabbat shalom greeting prior to Davening Shacharis, and rather an alternative form of reading such as “good Shabbos” should be used. . Indeed, we find that the Poskim record to say the words Good Shabbos when greeting someone on Shabbos day before prayer.
Sources: See Admur 89:3 [implies using the word shalom is forbidden even if one already said the morning blessings, and the leniency of morning blessings only applies regarding bowing to someone being that the restriction against bowing is not explicitly written in the Talmud, and hence the accustomed stringency to avoid the word shalom applies even when simply bumping into someone in shul after reciting the morning blessings]; Michaber 89:2; Rebbe Aba Brachos 14a; Rashba Brachos 14a; Kaf Hachaim 89:18 that according to the second opinion one should not say Shalom even when greeting in shul after morning blessings, as we rule the above; M”B 89:16 [permits using even the word shalom if one already said the morning blessings and simply bumped into someone]; Piskeiy Teshuvos 89:11; The following Poskim rule to say Shabbas Tava [i.Good Shabbos] on Shabbos prior to the prayer, as opposed to good morning: Elya Raba 307:3 in name of Shelah p. 135; Beir Heiytiv 89:3; Kaf Hachaim 89:21