What do all those abbreviations like Z"L mean?
Those abbreviation are shorthand for common Hebrew phrases. Here are
some of the most common ones:
- (Alav (Male), Aleha (Female) Hashalom)
- For any deceased Jew.
- Translation: Peace Be Upon Him/Her. Sometimes written as PBUH by
- (Adonainu, Morainu, VeRabbeinu)
- Translation: Our Master, Our Teacher, and Our Rebbe
- Honorific title given to leaders (often scholarly, but not
always) of a Jewish community, "R' Ploni Almoni, SHLITA, Admor of Chelm.")
- This is usually a specifically Chassidic term.
- Often used to refer to the Rebbe that leads a particular
- (Ad Maia Veesrim Shana)
- Translation: [He/She should live] for 120 years
- Used for salutations in correspondence: "Dear Ploni AMU"Sh"
- (Baruch Hashem)
- Translation: Blessed be G-d
- More commonly used in the sense of "Thank G-d" to indicate
gratitutde or acceptance of something.
- (B'Ezras/Ezer Hashem)
- Translation: With G-d's help
- Often used at top of papers, sometimes with an ayin following the
- Sometimes included to indicate that a desired outcome, like
anything else, is (or was) dependent on G-d's will.
- (B'li Neder)
- Translation: Without taking a vow
- Used before a promise, since failure to fulfill a promise is a
serious violation of Jewish law. For example, "I'll check that reference
tomorrow, B"N." (i.e., if I forget, I don't want to be liable under Jewish
- (B'li Ayin Hara) or (K'ain Ayin Hara)
- Translation: "without the 'evil eye'"
- Meaning: "I'm saying this with the thought that this is good and
I don't want anything to harm it."
- Often pronounced Kanaina horo (Yiddish)
- (B'siyata d'shmaya) (Aramaic)
- Translation: With the help of heaven (common)
- Also used in the written "top of page" form as B"H, but not as
commonly in conversation or the text of the letter.
- (Chachameinu Zichronam Livracho)
- The authorative opinion of the Talmud
- Translation: Our Sages of Blessed Memory
- (Hashem Yikom Damo[am])
- For martyred Jews.
- Translation: May Hashem avenge his[their] Blood
- IY"H, IYH
- (Im Yirtzeh Hashem)
- Translation: If it be G-d's will (very common)
- Used for referring to future actions: "I'll see you tomorrow
- In other words, this is a recognition that while we may plan for
the future, we don't fully control it, as our plans can only come to fruition
if G-d wants that to happen.
- (Nishmaso(male)/Nishmasa(Female) b'Eden)
- Translation: His/Her soul should be in Eden/paradise
- This can also stand for "Reb" or "Rav", a general title of
respect that can be applied to any male (or if in Reform usage, female) Jew
deserving of such respect.
- (Rachmana litzlan) (Aramaic)
- Translation: May the All-Merciful save us [from such things]
- Translators usually replace it with the English parallel: G-d
- (SHe'yikhye Lirot Yamim Tovim ve'Arukim)
- Used for living prominent Jewish scholars.
- Translation: That he/she should live to see good and full days
- (Yemach Shmo Vezichro)
- For deceased enemies of the Jewish people
- Translation: May his name be wiped out (YH"SH, Y'Sh); May his
name and memory be wiped out (Y'Shu)
- (Zichrono Livrocho)
- For deceased Jews of good character.
- Translation: Of Blessed Memory
- Sometimes written as OBM
- The female form would have Zichrona (Pl: Zichronam for males or
mixed groups, or Zichronan if an all female group)
- (Zecher Tzadik Livrocho)
- For deceased Jews of outstanding (the emphasis is on
tzadik) character and behavior.
- Translation: The Memory of the Righteous is a Blessing
The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt
to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family
of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic
movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy
and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is
always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place
Hopefully, the FAQ will provide the answer to your questions.
If it doesn't, please drop Email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The FAQ maintainer
will endeavor to direct your query to an appropriate individual that can answer
it. If you would like to be part of the group to which the maintainer directs
questions, please drop a note to the FAQ maintainer at
© (c) 1993-2005
Daniel P. Faigin <email@example.com>