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 current printing some of those quoted 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 one's own work or someone else's?

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

  • If it's your work, why do you think the phraseology wouldn't be up to your own discretion?
    – mevaqesh
    Jan 2, 2018 at 6:56

1 Answer 1


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

  • 2
    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, 2011 at 15:41
  • 3
    The 9th volume of Igros Moshe has some "שליט"א"s in the original (no parentheses) followed by "[זצ"ל]"s.
    – WAF
    Feb 8, 2016 at 1:29

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