Hidden Image. Vilna Gaon – visit the temporary exhibition from October 22nd

Written by: Jewish Historical Institute
Rabbi Elijahu ben Shlomo Zalman, known as the Genius (Gaon in Hebrew) from Vilna, was a unique individual in the history of Judaism. As one of the greatest Jewish scholars, he shaped the modern study of the Talmud and participated in the turbulent religious disputes of his time. His fame radiated all over Europe. We present the preview of the temporary exhibition at the Jewish Historical Institute, which we will be opened on October 22nd, 2021.

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We recall the figure of the Vilna Gaon because of his merits for the study of the Talmud and to honor him after the 300th anniversary of his birth, celebrated in 2020. The great scholar is an example of the durability of Polish-Lithuanian relations and a proof of the authority enjoyed by representatives of the Jewish community living in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

To this day, the methods of studying Torah and its commentaries developed by Gaon Wileński are used. It is thanks to his activities that two important concepts appeared - the yeshiva as a religious university and the Talmud in the system in which it is also studied today. Gaon remains one of most mysterious and fascinating figures of Judaism.

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Vilna Gaon (1720-1797) 
Lithography, published by. M. Dancigerkron, Warsaw 1885. JHI collection

The exhibition is accompanied by a rich program of accompanying events. We invite you to online meetings about Kabbalah, legends about the Gaon and Jewish Vilnius, as well as free guided tours of the exhibition on selected Tuesdays and Sundays. For the first time, we will also invite you to the spaces of the Jewish Historical Institute that are inaccessible to visitors: digitization and conservation workshops and the Library, where you will be able to get to know the backstage of the work of museologists.


The exhibition "Hidden Image. Vilna Gaon" will be available at the Jewish Historical Institute from October 22, 2021 to February 27, 2022.


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Jewish Historical Institute