Shalom Aleichem: Not Just Hello
We first tell the angels “Shalom Aleichem”, or “peace be upon you”. This is a form of greeting. We then say: “May your coming be for peace”. There is a difference between saying “hello”,
and saying “come in”.
We are not simply being polite; a greeting is non-committal. Inviting angels into our home is a symbol of our engagement to create a Shabbat atmosphere where angels will feel comfortable.
When we perform Mitsvot, are we creating angels we say “hi” to when we meet, then go our separate ways? Or are we creating angels we welcome into our existence; angels who we allow in, and who feel at peace being around us even when the act of the Mitsvah is over?