While researching this question I came across a picture of the gravestone of Reb Arye Kaplan זצ"ל.

The post-final line reads:

נפטר בש"ט בי"ד בשבט תשמ"ג‏

enter image description here

What does the abbreviation בש"ט stand for? All I can think of is 'בשעה טובה' - hardly appropriate for a deceased in a good time, especially since he was all of 48 years old! :-(

  • 1
    I'd have thought בשיבה טובה but again 48 isn't that old
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 11:27
  • I also thought of 'בשעה טובה' . I agree that while it may sound strange to us, if we consider that ultimately, the "time" is decided by G-d, one could say that 'בשעה טובה' refers to a time that G-d deemed to be "good" for that person. True, age 48 seems young for us. But for G-d, he deemed that that age was appropriate for that person.
    – DanF
    Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 13:24
  • @DanF - that's just too weird - and the family is pretty normal (I am related to them by marriage). I think Joel K's answer is the correct one. Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 13:58
  • I agree with the answer. I'm just mentioning another concept - as strange as it may seem. Someone's death, inevitably, can never be fully explained. BTW, his matzevah is in Yerushalayim?
    – DanF
    Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 14:04
  • @DanF mountofolives.co.il/he/deceased_card/…
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 18:15

1 Answer 1


It stands for נפטר בשם טוב - he died with a good name.

The expression is based on Berachot 17a.

רבי יוחנן כי הוה מסיים ספרא דאיוב אמר הכי סוף אדם למות וסוף בהמה לשחיטה והכל למיתה הם עומדים אשרי מי שגדל בתורה ועמלו בתורה ועושה נחת רוח ליוצרו וגדל בשם טוב ונפטר בשם טוב מן העולם

When Rabbi Yoḥanan would conclude the book of Job, he said the following: A person will ultimately die and an animal will ultimately be slaughtered, and all are destined for death. Happy is he who grew up in Torah, whose labor is in Torah, who gives pleasure to his Creator, who grew up with a good name and who took leave of the world with a good name.

  • 1
    It seems that Rav Kaplan was better than fine oil!
    – DanF
    Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 18:18

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