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R. Elijah, the Gaon of Vilna

Knowledge Base » People & Events » People » Post-Talmudic Sages » R. Elijah, the Gaon of Vilna
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Passing of the famed Talmudist and Kabbalist, Rabbi Eliyahu of Vilna (now Vilinus), Lithuania (1720-1797), known as the "Vilna Gaon." Rabbi Eliyahu was the leading figure in the opposition to the Chassidic movement in its early years.
"In Vilna one was taught how to study," recalled the Rebbe. "In Mezeritch one could learn how to pray..."
The fraught relationship between the Vilna Gaon and R. Schneur Zalman of Liadi
For 18th-century Jewry in Eastern Europe, the city of Vilna was the bastion of Torah scholarship and the center of Talmudic learning, while Mezheritch was the cradle of Chassidism and deep spirituality. The precedence and relevance of these two foci of Je...
The Jews in Exile
This class covers the growth of the Chasidic movement as well as those who opposed it (the Mitnagdim). At the end of the class, we discuss the beginnings of the Haskalah or "Enlightenment" which drew many Jews away from observance.
Chassidim, mitnagdim, and the debate about tzimtzum
How did a scholarly disagreement amongst the Mediterranean kabbalists in the late-1600s morph into the explosive debate between the Chassidim and their Mitnagdic opponents more than half a century later?
Detractors to chasidism still point to the Vilna Gaon’s opposition as the basis upon which they rely. But would the Vilna Gaon count himself among them today? (from a 1963 encounter)
Rabbi Yehuda Leib Schapiro heard Rabbi J.B. Soloveitchik retell the story of the Alter Rebbe’s attempt to visit the Vilna Gaon, as it had been passed down through his own family, all the way back to the Gaon’s chief disciple.
Good question. There is a mitzvah in the Torah for a kohen to bless the Jewish people every day with upraised hands. This is called Birkat Kohanim (“Blessing of the Priests”) or Nesiat Kapaim (“Raising the Palms”). This mitzvah is not restricted to Temple...
By the Grace of G‑d 23rd of Adar, 5723 [March 19, 1963] Brooklyn, N.Y. Greeting and Blessing: I received your letter some time ago, but this is the first opportunity to reply to it. You write about your background and how you have found your way to the Lu...
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