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Many wedding invitations written in Hebrew that I've seen have the abbreviations נ"י - after the groom's name - and תחי'‏ - after the bride's name. (Example) Sometimes they are slight alterations on those themes. (Example?)

  • How/why did this standard arise?
  • Why are there different abbreviated good wishes for males and females in this context?
  • Does the difference extend to other contexts?

The bold one is the main question, but I think it likely that a good answer to it will also answer the other two.

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related judaism.stackexchange.com/q/6309/759 – Double AA Jan 3 '14 at 20:34
I suspect it has something to do with "neiro ya'aleh" being an allusion to Torah study, and that activity being only obligatory for men. – Isaac Moses Jan 3 '14 at 20:39

Isaac Moses has the answer. It is an honorific title. They are different as they don't apply equally, generally due to grammar considerations.

In your second example, the only difference is grammar (in the linked question I added the one for the male side that wasn't there before). May he/she live.

One exception is נ"י. In that context, as Isaac Moses said, it is a reference to Torah learning (sometimes written out as נירו יאיר באורה, זו תורה - May his candle (i.e. soul נר ה' נשמת אדם) shine with light, this is Torah), which is obligatory only on men, so women get the "may she live" instead.

The main other context you see this is in letters, as just linked. Although the honorifics may vary depending on the person (the honorific on a wedding invitation tends to be relatively low key comparatively) the basic concept still holds - men get titles honoring their Torah learning status, women less so.

It seems to go back to at least the 1700's in some form or another.

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I suspect the blessing of "may she live" for a young woman had a lot to do with the incredibly-high rate of death during childbirth, back in the day. – Shalom Jan 15 '14 at 17:07
If "ש"י" stands for "שיחיה" why is it not parallel to "תח"י" in that example? Is there any precedent for the line "נרו יאיר באורה זו תורה" that is not motivated by a rhyme or some other lyrical context? And @DoubleAA's basic question about the underlying meaning of נ"י. – WAF Jan 19 '14 at 16:31
@WAF, I don't think you can make that kind of diyuk in a wedding invitation. You certainly see it with a Shin as well. See the Alter Rebbe's letters at that link. He refered to his father that way (when he was alive). That link to the Sfei Chemed's letter answered DoubleAA's point. – Yishai Jan 19 '14 at 18:39

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