The Vilna Gaon's brother's says in Ma'alos HaTorah the following:

"If today they would build a shul with an axe that was made by a Jew לשם שמים. He chops the wood לשם שמים. Everything is בקדושה וטהרה. When Jews would daven in such a shul their minds would never wonder off when they were being מתפלל."

Does anyone one know where in Ma'alos HaTorah this can be found?

  • 7
    Where is this quote from?
    – wfb
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 14:55
  • What makes you think that this quotation exists in Ma'alos HaTorah? Please edit to show the basis of this question.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 16:13
  • @IsaacMoses A question without basis isn't unclear. It is without basis. Closing as unclear seems incorrect.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 17:10
  • @mevaqesh That's the closest close reason we've got. It's unclear why anyone would think that this quotation exists, such that it's worthwhile to expend effort trying to find it. In any case, this form of question, asking for the source of a direct quotation without direct attribution, is abusive of the Q&A format and should be closed.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 17:16

1 Answer 1


This is found in addenda to the 1946 edition of Ma'alot HaTorah, (page 124: number 13) which contain statements attributed to him. This statement is attributed to R. Avraham, in the name of his brother R. Elijah, by his grandson R. Sh'lomo Zalman:

היה אומר בשם אחיו הגר״א שאם היו בונים ביה״כ מתחילה כראוי, היינו אף הקרדום שחוטב העצים, היה עושה ישראל במחשבה לשם שמים בכוונה, לא היו מתפללים באותו ביה״כ במחשבה זרה

He would say in the name of his brother the Gra that if they would initially build a synagogue appropriately, that is, even the axe that chopped the trees--a Jew would make it for the sake of heaven, people wouldn't pray in that synagogue with foreign thoughts.

  • 1
    You are very welcome! I again request that you clarify where you get your citations from. In this case, for example, you initially identified this statement as being from his grandson, and then deleted this. Clearly your source correctly identified the source, and could have been very helpful in finding the answer. Consider marking answers correct here, here, here, here
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Apr 2, 2017 at 1:32
  • I heard this from a maggid shiur. Commented Apr 2, 2017 at 3:22
  • 1
    @ChiddusheiTorah If it was in a recording, then linking to it would help. Putting text in block-quotes indicates an exact citation of a primary, secondary or tertiary source. Most importantly, whatever your sources are should be stated at the outset! If you heard something, say so, and where. If you read something, clarify where. You have been asked to do so dozens of times, yet still generally don't. It is almost as though you have some specific goal of asking cryptic questions and deliberately withholding information form those you wish to help you.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Apr 2, 2017 at 3:26

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