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There's a popular understanding that the Gra asked R Chaim of Volozhin to write a sefer based on his teachings that would deal with many points that the sefer Tanya dealt with and this is the Nefesh HaChaim.

  1. Is there a source to this story?
  2. If not, is it a given that what R Chaim writes in his book is what the Gra himself held to be true?
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There is as much connection between the Nephesh Hachaim and the kisvei ha'Gra as there is between the Kedushas Levi and the Safra Detzneusa.

Paradoxically at best the Nephesh ha'Chaim is a watered down version of the toras ha'Gra similar to chassidus watering down kabbalah for popular consumption.

Reb Chaim Volozhin's take on life, the universe and everything is definitely his own understanding of how the Gra translates into a practical plan of action.

  • sources? [char] – mevaqesh Jul 7 '16 at 1:28

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