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abbreviation for a mourner

Rabbi David SperlingAdar II 5, 5776
171
Question
Hello. I remember seeing some of my Jewish friends commenting some abbreviation when someone passed away. Do you know what these abbreviated letters were? Sorry for this being a weird request. Best regards, Leah
Answer
Shalom Leah, Thank you for your question (which really isn't so weird!). Perhaps you heard people saying the abbreviation "ZaL" or "ZaTzaL" after the name of someone who passed away. These are pronunciations of the initials of the words "Zichrono Levracha" or "Zecher Tzadik Levracha". The first means "may their memory be a blessing" and the second "the memory of a righteous person should be for a blessing". It is customary to say these words, or the abbreviation of the initials, after saying the name of someone who is dead as a sign of respect. The first is used for any person who passed away, while the second longer version is used for particularly righteous people. Sometimes people say the words "Alav HaShalom" instead, which means (roughly) "may he rest in peace". I hope this is of some help to you – Blessings.
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