Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Elijah ben Shlomo Zalman, known as the Vilna Gaon or Elijah of Vilna or by his Hebrew acronym Gra ("Gaon Rabbenu Eliyahu")

Polish-Lithuanian Talmudist, Halachist, Kabbalist, and the foremost leader of non-hasidic Jewry of the past few centuries, referred to as"the saintly genius from Vilnius"

"Treat all men with courtesy, amiability and respect."

"Only what man achieves through effort is dear to him."

"When you lead your sons and daughters in the good way, let your words be tender and caressing, in terms of disciplines that win the heart's assent."

"The goal of the redemption is the redemption of truth. "

"The first Man sinned because of the souls of the `erev rav ''mixed multitude'' that were included in him."

"The shapes and deformations in one's body correspond to one's sins in a former incarnation."

"There exists the love of a useful person (such as relatives), the love of a pleasant person (such as the love of a woman), the love of what is good (such as the love of those with good character traits). And there is also the love we return when we feel that others love us, loving in return like the reflecting water surface, the face in accordance to their face. For this reason , was it said, ''my sister'' (a useful person), ''my friend'' (a pleasant person), ''my dove'' (beautiful character traits), ''my perfect one'' (reacting like the reflecting waters ,the face according to the face)."

"The prophet used to give a person's instruction in the way to worship G-d, according to the root of the soul of he that inquired and according to the nature of his body. "

"Prophecy appears as a result of pure thought, broad understanding, abstinence and meditation in solitude."