As a follow up to this answer to a M.Y. question, why is שליט"א more commonly used after a notable Rav's name than the term נירו יאיר (or נ"י, as an abbreviation)?

A wise person, such as a rav is called a תלמיד חכם meaning student" of a wise person (Thanks to @wfb for the clarity!) This implies that even though he is wise, he is still a student, because he always needs to continue learning.

Also Pirkei Avot 4:1 states:

בן זומא אומר:איזהו חכם? הלומד מכל אדם, שנאמר: (תהלים קיט צט): "מכל מלמדי השכלתי כי עדותיך שיחה לי

Ben Zoma says: Who is the wise one? He who learns from all men, as it says, "I have acquired understanding from all my teachers" (Psalms 119:99).

This confirms the same idea that people become wiser by continually learning from others.

The term נירו יאיר implies that the person should continue to shine his light by continually learning and teaching others, and becoming wiser. This seems. to me, to be a bigger bracha than שליט"א, which is just a bracha that the rav should live long, without directly indicating that he should become wiser and teach others.

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    The word is related to שליט - it is a way of giving the blessing while recognizing the stature and authority of the person.
    – Yishai
    May 7, 2015 at 15:13
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    How do you know which is more common?
    – Double AA
    May 7, 2015 at 15:17
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    תלמיד חכם actually means a student of a wise person
    – wfb
    May 7, 2015 at 15:28
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    @Yishai Isn't that more of a secondary, hinted meaning (or perhaps even an ex post facto etymology)? (Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/30999).
    – Fred
    May 7, 2015 at 16:45
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    Usually the rav gets the shlita and a bochur the n"y. Today every married person is called rav. Envelopes addressed to me for money always call me rav.
    – cham
    May 7, 2015 at 18:25

1 Answer 1


Shelita stands for Sh'yibadel L'chayim Tovim Arukim (may he be blessed (lit. seperated to) a good and long life). The difference stems in that the talmid chochom's candle is already 'shining forth', and therefore we bless him with a long life because it's considered worthwile. Whereas a normal person is blessed that his candle shall 'shine forth' as that is the main reason we descend to earth.

  • 1
    Welcome to MiYodeya Samuel. Since MY is different from other sites you might be used to, see here for a guide which might help understand the site. Great to have you learn with us!
    – mbloch
    Apr 21, 2021 at 3:38
  • This seems to be incorrect judaism.stackexchange.com/q/119717/759
    – Double AA
    Apr 21, 2021 at 12:41
  • Pretty sure it is stands for SHEYICHYE. Either way welcome to MY.
    – N.T.
    Apr 22, 2021 at 6:55
  • @N.T It means the same thing, just one's in Aramaic, the other in Lashon Hakodesh. Apr 22, 2021 at 23:13
  • I apologise, I overlooked being closer to the topic. Today as a general thing young children to young adults are called נ"י and older men שליט"א . Apr 23, 2021 at 1:31

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