Elijah ben Solomon


Elijah ben Solomon

biographical name

(born April 23, 1720, Sielec, Lith., Russian Empire—died Oct. 9, 1797, Vilna) Lithuanian scholar and Jewish leader. Born into a long line of scholars, he traveled in Poland and Germany before settling in Vilna, the cultural centre of eastern European Jewry. He refused rabbinic office and lived as a recluse while devoting himself to study and prayer, but he nevertheless became famous and revered in the Jewish community. His scholarly interests included biblical exegesis, Talmudic studies, folk medicine, grammar, and philosophy. A vehement opponent of Hasidism, he denounced its claims to miracles, visions, and spiritual ecstasy, calling instead for the intellectual love of God.

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