One of the common ways to refer to the R' Isaac Luria is "the Arizal". I understand this to mean, The Ari, zecher L'bracha (may he be mentioned/remembered for blessing).

However, one usually refers to a Tzaddik (Righteous person) as ZaTZaL, zecher Tzaddik L'bracha.

Why don't we mention that the Ari was a tzaddik when calling him the Arizal?


I suspect that it's a result of standards changing over time and the R' Luria's popular title being nailed down before they changed.

I seem to recall various sources referring to, e.g., the Rambam as "Rambamzal" or "Ram Bemazal." Perhaps back in the days of the Rambam's immediate successors, "Zal" was simply the popular suffix for deceased luminaries, and since then, at some point, "Zatzal" became popular for this purpose.

Source: impressions from what I've read plus conjecture (weak, I know).

  • 2
    – msh210
    Dec 2 '11 at 16:46
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    Reading through rishonim, I have only ever seen "zal" and never "zatzal". Only times I've ever seen zatzal are when it was added in by the editor.
    – jake
    Dec 2 '11 at 17:55
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    @jake: any idea of when zatzal started to be used?
    – Menachem
    Dec 4 '11 at 14:33
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    @Menachem, No idea. Sounds like a fun project to figure it out, though. For when I have more time on my hands.
    – jake
    Dec 4 '11 at 22:21
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    or chazal... not chazatzal. Jul 15 '12 at 23:58

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