This Day in Jewish History The Vilna Gaon Dies

The legendary 18th century rabbi from present-day Lituania, known as the Vilna Gaon, died on this day in 1797. One of the most important rabbinical authorities of all time, his teachings are still highly influential in Israel today.

On this day in 1797, Rabbi Eliyahu ben Shlomo Zalman – known as the Gaon (genius, or sage) of Vilna, or by the Hebrew acronym the “Gra” (standing for “the genius, our rabbi Eliyahu”) – died, at the age of 77.  The Gaon of Vilna is universally recognized as one of the most learned and important rabbinical authorities of all time; his interpretations of Jewish law and commentary still guide many...