Normally, most people wish someone "Ad meah ve'esrim" ([May you live] to a hundred and twenty). What do you say on a person's hundred and twentieth birthday.

I have seen the answers about why 120 connected to Moshe Rabbeinu and that this is considered the maximum age (even though Aharon lived to 123, and Miriam to (about) 133. I have also seen the references to Parshas Noach, even though there are meforshim who say the reference is to the number of years until the mabul and not the maximum age that humanity would start decreasing towards.

Note that I first heard this as a joke, but serious answers are being sought here.

The original answer that I heard was for the joke and not serious ("Have a nice day") so it would not really be appropriate for this question.

  • 1
    -It looks like it might not be regarded as a question- Since it is only "Normally, you wish someone Ad meah ve'esrim", just pick another wish. More importantly, where did this wish come from ? My Ra"m once told me that it has no profound source and we should rather wish people Ad meah ve'esrim ve'yoter (or somethnig like that) [Might be better to ask, Why do people assume you may only live up till 120]
    – Zeev
    Aug 6, 2015 at 18:28
  • @Zeev I have already seen the answer that it is tied to Moshe Rabbeinu and that people are not considered to be ablye to outdo him. Even thogh Aharon lived to 123 and Miriam to approximately 193, the maximum age for modern people is normally considered to match Moshe Rabbeinu. Aug 6, 2015 at 18:35
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    Until 180 - the age of the Avos and I sometimes hear it used anyway.
    – Yishai
    Aug 6, 2015 at 18:36
  • Where did you learn that Miriam lived to 193? I always heard ~125.
    – Ypnypn
    Sep 6, 2015 at 15:35
  • @Ypnypn Miriam died the same year that Moshe and Aharon died. Now that I look at it, the 9 was a typo and should have bee a 3. I have seen references that she was 5, 7, or 13 when Moshe was born. The 13 is based on people who say she was Puah, which means that she was at least bas mitzvah when she was already a midwife. Thanks for pointing out my typo. Sep 6, 2015 at 17:05

2 Answers 2


According to Rabbi Shurkin in his Meged Givas Olam, some great rabbis he studied under were against the idea that one can only live to one hundred and twenty years.

He cited an incident where Reb Moshe Feinstein wouldn't fill out a certain life insurance policy when he realized it would only cover him till one hundred and twenty years.

Also, if I may add, our tradition tells us Chutzpis Hameturgaman was murdered the day before his one hundred and thirtieth birthday, so the one twenty idea seems to have no real basis.

So, in closing, wish them many more happy years of life.

  • 1
    I was told (by an insurance salesman) the life insurance policies originally cashed out at 100. As a result of people living longer, they are now written to cash out at 121. Aug 6, 2015 at 18:43
  • I thought that Chutzpit (love that name) lived until 113 Aug 6, 2015 at 18:48
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    @NoachmiFrankfurt It doesn't matter. Yehoyada' lived to 130 mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt25b24.htm#15 The only sad part is people knowing Midrashim about Chuztpis better than Tanakh...
    – Double AA
    Aug 6, 2015 at 19:00
  • @Double The Baalei Tosafos would probably not agree with that statement.
    – user6591
    Aug 6, 2015 at 19:06
  • @user6591 I disagree?
    – Double AA
    Aug 6, 2015 at 19:06

Given the plethora of blessings that one may give on someone's birthday, the answers to this question are innumerable. So the answer is - any blessing except for Ad 120.

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