It played host to the famed Gaon of Vilna
, one of Judaism's spiritual giants, and also to the socialist Bund, the secular Jewish labor movement.
The Gaon of Vilna, the greatest Halachic scholar of the eighteenth century is a case in point, and illustrates the inclusivity of the Jewish mind.
But not everything Jewish was acceptable to the Gaon of Vilna. It is also true that the Lithuanian rabbi, along with other rabbis from Poland, placed a ban on the burgeoning Hasidic movement, which unleashed its popular attractions on the people of Eastern Europe in the late eighteenth century.
The Gaon of Vilna
states that the view cited in Shulhan Arukh that it is a biblical obligation is based on a faulty text.
In the modern period, the greatest Talmudist since the Gaon of Vilna
, Rabbi Saul (GeRaSH) Lieberman, an admirer of Maimonides, encouraged women to study Talmud and admitted them into his Talmud classes."
Gaon of Vilna Ruah = the "I," the repository of feelings and senses that exercise free will between good and evil and stands in judgment before G-d.
(6) The Gaon of Vilna, MPairushai Ha'Gra Ha'Torah (Jerusalem: Tinnitz, 1985) p.
The primary representative of Mithnagdic Judaism was the extraordinary figure, the Gaon of Vilna
, whose follower, Haim of Volozhin, played an important role in Levinas's spiritual formation.