Two hundred years ago, a brilliant light burst forth in Vilna, an incandescent light that continues to illuminate the Jewish world to this very day. The source of this light was Rav Eliyahu of Vilna, the essence of this light was the Torah. The Vilna Gaon, as he came to be known, held no official position. He did not serve as a rabbi, although he ruled on many questions of Halachah. He did not serve as a rosh yeshivah, although he said shiurim and had many talmidim. The power and influence of the Gaon was derived from his total identification with the Torah. He and the Torah were one, and all who came into his presence of the Torah. "The Vilna Gaon: The Story of Reb Eliyahu Kramer" tells the story of this legendary figure in Jewish history. Drawing on many cross-checked sources, including the classic Hagaon Hachassid in Vilna among many others, it presents a dramatized, chronological account of the life of the Gaon. We see him as a child prodigy, as a young man going into voluntary "exile" and as the acknowledged and revered leader of Lithuanian Jewry. Yaakov Dovid Shulman is the author of the immensely popular biography series from C.I.S. Publishers. To date,he has given us the stories of Rashi, the Rambam, the Ramban, the Rema, the Maharal and the Chasam Sofer.
by Yaakov Dovid Shulman