I watched Henry Abramson's lecture on the Vilna Gaon prepared with the book The Genius: Elijah of Vilna and the Making of Modern Judaism by Eliyahu Stern.

The reviews of that book are good, but there are mixed opinions as well. Which biography about the Vilna Gaon has produced the best impression on you?


  • 2
    Close as opinion-based? (I don’t have enough points to actually VTC)
    – Lo ani
    Oct 3 '19 at 18:35
  • 1
    Academic- The Gaon of Vilna: The Man and His Image
    – sam
    Oct 3 '19 at 18:38
  • This may be off topic judaism.meta.stackexchange.com/q/5175/759
    – Double AA
    Oct 3 '19 at 19:55
  • If this isn’t off-topic, it’s fine as normal product-recommendation @loani
    – DonielF
    Oct 3 '19 at 22:13
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    @Oliver How so? Is an intellectual biography not a product, and you're asking for our recommendations on a good one? Even if it's not a perfect parallel, it would still follow the same rules as one in terms of its being on-topic. (I'm trying to help you here and keep your question open!)
    – DonielF
    Oct 3 '19 at 22:40

I really liked Artscroll's "The Vilna Gaon: The Life and Teachings of Rabbi Eliyahu the Gaon of Vilna" by Betzalel Landau.

"The Vilna Gaon: The Story of Rabbi Eliyahu Kramer" by Yaacov Dovid Shulman is another solid option (although I preferred the Artscroll biography).


First, it is surprising that someone would give a lecture based on the book you mentioned given the many inaccuracies in that book, as enumerated here and here. For more accurate information about the Vilna Gaon, it would be better to look at Aliyot Eliyahu or R. Betzalel Landau's Ha-Gaon He-Chasid mi-Vilna. Immanuel Etkes' book, while not a full biography, also provides a better source of information.

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