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Among the most beloved components of the Sabbath rites developed in the Galilean town of Safed in the sixteenth century is the rhythmically enchanting and quietly haunting anonymous hymn that begins “Shalom Aleichem”—“Peace Be Upon You”—which was sung in the home after the men of the house returned from the field on Friday evening. The poem is addressed to the Sabbath angels, and it might best be read as a hymn for the peace of the household, which in turn becomes part of the larger harmony of existence.


This poem originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

March 2012

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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