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Eliyahu ben Shlomo Zalman

Rabbi Eliyahu ben Shlomo Zalman (Hebrew: ר' אליהו בן שלמה זלמן‎) known as the Vilna Gaon or by his Hebrew acronym HaGra ("HaGaon Rabbenu Eliyahu": "The sage, our teacher, Elijah") (Sialiec, April 23, 1720 – Vilnius October 9, 1797), was a Talmudist, halakhist, kabbalist, and the foremost leader of misnagdic (non-hasidic) Jewry of the past few centuries. He is commonly referred to in Hebrew as ha-Gaon he-Chasid mi-Vilna, "the pious genius from Vilnius".


📄 סדר עתיק לקריאות מהתנ״ך לפי מסכת סופרים | A Service for Scriptural Readings from Antiquity, reconstructed from Masekhet Soferim by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: 20 Jun 2020 by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Eliyahu ben Shlomo Zalman |

The “minor tractate” Soferim is one of our best sources for early liturgical practice. It is the oldest known source for multiple practices still followed today, such as the blessing for the haftarah. Such luminaries as the Vilna Gaon considered it a vital work. But some of its practices are… well, odd. There are customs in Tractate Soferim which are found nowhere else in classical rabbinics — blessings for the recitation of books in Writings other than the scrolls, a three-year cycle of Torah readings, and a custom to divide the scrolls in half when reading them. This service is constructed based on the descriptions and passages of Tractate Soferim, mostly following the Gra’s edition. In some ways it may be very familiar, especially to Ashkenazim, but in others it is a fascinating glimpse into a heretofore lost practice of Judaism. . . .