Inspired by this question, I am wondering:

Is zt"l -- זצ“ל, zatzal = zecher tzadik livracha "May the memory of this tzaddik be a blessing" -- ever used for tzadkaniyot, righteous females? Or else is there another honorific that is used for them?

  • 1
    I was about to make a comment, but I see that Double AA beat me to the punch
    – MTL
    Apr 19, 2016 at 18:52
  • 1
    I'm not sure I've seen it used, either, but I was never really paying attention. What makes you think that it's specifically not being used for women?
    – MTL
    Apr 19, 2016 at 18:54
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    Fathers and mothers have the same rules regarding honorifics he.wikisource.org/wiki/…
    – Double AA
    Apr 19, 2016 at 19:04
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    @SAH I don't know who "we" is, but if you want to see it just pick your closest deceased female ancestor and write down their name followed by זצ"ל. Now you see it.
    – Double AA
    Apr 19, 2016 at 19:09
  • 3
    SAH Is it? You might find a list where deceased men and women are part of a list, and if the men have ZTL and none of the women do, then that might make your question a little better. Finding something to make your question stronger will [*searches for good words, fails*] make your question stronger, in my opinion. That's all I meant to say.
    – MTL
    Apr 19, 2016 at 19:20

4 Answers 4


If you search Google for "Mrs. * ZT-L", you'll find many instances of this honorific used for couples, and a few for women. Here are some examples of it used for women by various Jewish news or public relations outlets:

BaltimoreJewishLife.com regrets to inform the community of the petirah of Mrs. Chaya Bobrowsky, zt’l, grandmother of Reb Yoni Adler.

- "BDE: Mrs. Chaya Bobrowsky, zt’l, Wife of TA's Venerable Rebbi, Rabbi Yaakov Bobrowsky", BaltimoreJewishLife.com, March 22, 2016

Generation Sensation was created in honor of Rebbetzin Leah Raichik ZT”L, the first shlucha of the Rebbe in California, and Mrs. Miriam Weiss ZT”L, a pioneer of the Los Angeles frum community, who both have grandchildren and great-grandchildren enrolled in Bais Chaya Mushka.

- "Event Honors Moms, Bubbies", COLlive Community News Service, May 14, 2015

The proceeds from the dinner, as well as the commemorative journal saluting the school and the honorees, will go directly toward the Sarah Rivkah Lander Chesed Fund, established by the Lander family. Mrs. Sarah Rivkah Lander, zt”l, was a vital partner in the historic achievements of her husband, Touro Founding President Dr. Bernard Lander, zt”l.

- "Lander College for Women Celebrates 40th Anniversary", Lander College for Women News and Events, July 2, 2014

I think it's fair to conclude that while this honorific is probably used a great deal less frequently for women than it is for men, its use for women is not unheard of.


There are several instances in rabbinic literature where the rabbinic author mentions a deceased female relative and uses the appellation "zatzal". Here are two examples:

R. Moshe Sofer refers to his wife with the appellation "zatzal" in a letter printed in Likutei Teshuvot Chatam Sofer (michtavim siman 9):

ומפני זה גם אנכי לא בקשתי ממנו זצ"ל לעולם לבקש רחמים על אשתי הראשונה זצ"ל מטעם הנ"ל

And because of this, I too did not ever request of him to request mercy for my first wife zatzal, for the aforementioned reason.

Here is an image of the text:

Image of page from Likutei Teshuvot Chatam Sofer

R. Moshe Sternbuch refers to his mother with the appellation "zatzal” in a responsum in Teshuvot V'Hanhagot (3:377):

ועובדא דכירנא אצל אמי זצ"ל שנשארה אלמנה עם תשעה ילדים קטנים ובכתה בלי הפוגות ונתעלפה כמה פעמים לאחר ג' ימים בא לה אביה זקני הגרש"ז פינס זצ"ל ואמר לה שאסור לה לבכות לאחר ג' ימים ושאלה אותו אם זהו הלכה והשיב לה כן זהו הלכה מפורשת בש"ע ומאז לא בכתה עוד

I remember an incident with my mother zatzal who was left a widow with nine young children and she cried non-stop and fainted several times. After three days, her father — my grandfather R. S.Z. Pines zatzal — came to her and told her that it is forbidden to cry after three days. She asked him if this is a law, and he responded that it is an explicit law in Shulchan Aruch. From that point on she did not cry anymore.

Here is an image of the text:

Image of page of Teshuvot V'Hanhagot


Following @ Isaac Moses, I searched for Rebbetzen * zt-l and found:

Rebbetzin Kanievsky ZTL in the yeshivaworld.com

Rebbetzin Bluma ZTL in matzav.com

Rebbetzin Vichna Kaplan ztl in linkapeida-judaism.com

Rebbetzin Batsheva Esther Kanievsky, zt”l in tznius.tips …

Rebbetzin Chana Weinberg, zt'l in mekorhabracha.org

It is clear that zt"l is used for women.


According to wikipedia, Zt"l is used for men as well as women.

If I recall correctly, when Rebetzin Kamenetzki, wife of Rav Binyamin Kamenetzki died, about 4 months ago, many of the local articles and newspapers referred to her using Zt"l. Perhaps, a Chaba"d-nick can verify if this term is used regarding Rebbetzin Chaya Schneerson.

  • @ezra Do you know?? ^^^
    – DanF
    Dec 14, 2017 at 20:34
  • Hi I just saw this comment now XD Almost an entire year later... To my knowledge the honorific is not used in connection with the Rebbetzin, but it isn't used with the Rebbe either... In Lubavitch we generally do not refer to either of them as being dead, because a tzadik is still "alive" even after he is dead. Of course this might be infiltration from the Meshichists, and I'm sure you will find people who DO use zt''l after both the Rebbe and Rebbetzin...
    – ezra
    Nov 12, 2018 at 5:22
  • @ezra I probably should have known better than to ask this regarding the Chaba"d Rebbe and his wife :-(. I gather that even the previous Chabba"d Rebbes don't get zt"l either?
    – DanF
    Nov 12, 2018 at 14:05
  • Not in my experience.
    – ezra
    Nov 12, 2018 at 15:07
  • @ezra the Frierdiker Rebbe no, but what about before him?
    – SAH
    Nov 13, 2018 at 3:17

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