Two Blessings for a Long Life

Question

I noticed that often after the name of a great Rabbi, the word “Shlita” is written. What does this mean? Thank you!

9 months

Answers

  1. I find it very “observant” that you noticed this word which is not English but appears in English-language publications after certain names, as you mention. “Shlita” is an acronym, and before I explain its meaning I can’t resist saying that Judaism doesn’t have a monopoly on acronyms. The military is also a big fan of them:

    Two U.S. army officers once passed a new recruit who was on cleaning duty. “Don’t forget to clean off the BRT” said one of them, pointing to a big round metal object.

    “Boy, how do you know all the names of all the different machinery?” marveled a fellow officer. “And what does BRT stand for, anyway?”

    “Big Round Thing,” he answered.

    The acronym “Shlita” stands for the words “Sheyichye L’orech Yamim Tovim Aruchim.” This means that we pray that the person “will live many long and good days.”

    It is quite a clever word as well. Not only does it convey a blessing for a long life as an acronym, but as a regular word “shlita” means “leadership.” This conveys the idea that the Rabbi is a person of guidance and leadership in addition to his Torah scholarship.

    Another term often written as a blessing when addressing someone is “amosh,” which is spelled: ayin, mem, vav, shin. This stands for “ad me’ah v’esrim shana.” That is to say: “May you live to be 120!” This was the age of Moses, who lived his entire life in perfect health. The blessing to another to live to be 120 also conveys the intent for the person to be blessed to live his entire lifetime in good health.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team