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The Gaon of VilnaThe Man and His Image$
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Immanuel Etkes

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520223943

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520223943.001.0001

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Ha-Gaon He-Hasid: In His Own Time and for Succeeding Generations

Ha-Gaon He-Hasid: In His Own Time and for Succeeding Generations

(p.10) 1 Ha-Gaon He-Hasid: In His Own Time and for Succeeding Generations
The Gaon of Vilna

Immanuel Etkes

University of California Press

This chapter describes the unusual distinction of the Gaon of Vilna's achievements as a Torah scholar, a distinction that made him a symbol and model of greatness in Torah scholarship in the eyes of his disciples and in the eyes of many others. It attempts to reconstruct the figure of the Gaon as it was conceived and interpreted by those few who saw his face based on the introductions written by the Gaon's two sons and a few of his students to his posthumously published works. The analysis reveals that in various ways the Gaon's disciples and sons expressed their conviction that before them was a person of superhuman dimensions and that the sum of his writings represented merely a drop of the sea of his wisdom.

Keywords:   Gaon of Vilna, Torah scholarship, model of greatness, superhuman dimensions, posthumously published works

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