Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

The name of living Torah scholar mentioned or quoted in another's book is often followed by an abbreviation of blessing such as שליט"א or נר"ו. The name of a past scholar, no longer living, is followed by a different set of abbreviations like ז"ל and זי"ע.

Is it appropriate when reprinting such a book between whose first publication and now some of those quotes have passed away to update the abbreviations or is it more proper to retain the original as it was written?

Does it make a difference if it was your own work or someone else's?

Does the scale or medium of publication matter (e.g. book vs. newspaper vs. private email correspondence vs. anything in between)?

share|improve this question
up vote 7 down vote accepted

A reasonable compromise I've sometimes seen is to enclose the original abbreviation in parentheses, and follow it by the updated one in square brackets, like so:

...הרב פלוני (שליט"א) [זצ"ל] אמר

share|improve this answer
I don't see how that's reasonable at all. Just because someone once wrote Shlita, that does not mean there is something innately holy about that specific wording that it cannot be altered or deleted and replaced. If it was a quotation in the writer's words and not merely an editor's addition, and one felt obligated to be true to the writer's original words, it might make sense to add parentheses or brackets around the Z"L or ZT"L, but directly after the name in lieu of Shlit"a, not placed after it. – Seth J Oct 3 '11 at 15:41
The 9th volume of Igros Moshe has some "שליט"א"s in the original (no parentheses) followed by "[זצ"ל]"s. – WAF Feb 8 at 1:29

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.