Elijah ben Solomon, 1720–97, Jewish scholar, called the Gaon of Vilna, b. Lithuania. A leading Jewish scholar of his time, he opposed the spread of Hasidism in Lithuania and Poland because he feared that the creation of these new groups would weaken the Jewish community. His many influential works include commentaries on the Hebrew Bible, the Mishna and Talmud, Midrash, and the kabbalah. He upheld the primacy of Torah study and the halakah, which he held as being of supreme importance for Jewish life.
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