Wilna, Elijah

Wilna, Elijah also called the Pious (החסיד), was born in 1720 at Selz, near Brisk, in Poland His natural endowments were so extraordinary that when eleven years of age he was not only a thorough Hebraist, but unraveled the mysteries of the Cabala, and was master of astronomy, geometry, grammar, etc.; and at the age of thirteen (1733) was appealed to as a great authority and teacher. In addition to his marvelous native powers, he possessed a real love of learning and great assiduity, as well as .an independent fortune, and lived till 1797. Like Mendelssohn and Wessely, Wilna was laboring to produce a reformation in Poland with the special purpose to check the mischief wrought in the Jewish community by the Chasidim, who at his time had become very powerful. Wilna's writings are very numerous. Up to the year 1760 he had written the, prodigious number of sixty volumes, of which fifty-four, appeared between 1802 and 1854. We mention the following: Commentary on the Order. Zeraim (Lemberg, 1797, and often; last ed. Stettin, 1860): — Commentary on the Order Toharoth (Brinn, 1802 and often last ed. Stettin; 1860): Text-critical Glosses on the Mechilta (Wilna, 1844): — Critical Notes on the Babylonian Talmud (Vienna, 1807, and often): — Critical Notes on the Pirke de R. Elieser (Warsaw, 1854): — Critical Notes on the Pesikta (Breslau, 1831.): — Scholia to the Greatei and Lesser Seder Olam (Wilna, 1845): — Glosses on the Thirty-two Hermeneutical Rules of Rose (Sklow, 1803): — The Mantle of Elijah, a commentary on the Pentateuch (first printed in the Pentateuch edition published at Dobrowna, 1804, and again at Halberstadt. 1859-60)-: — A Commentary on Isa 1:12 and

Habakkuk (Wilna, 1820; 2d ed. ibid. 1843, edited arid supplemented by his grandson Jacob Moses of Slonim): — A Commentary on Jonah (ibid. 1800): — A Commentary on Proverbs (Sklow, 1798, and often): — A Commentary on Job 1-6 (Warsaw, 1854): — A Commentary on the Song of Songs (Prague, 1811; Warsaw, 1842):A Commentary on the Chronicles (Wilna, 1820; 2d ed. ibid. 1843): — A Commentary on the Book Jezira (Grodno, 1806): — A Commentary on the Zohar (Wilna, 1810): — A Hebrew Grammar (ibid. 1833)-: — A Topographical Description of Palestine, and a Treatise on the Solomonic Temple (Sklow, 1802, and often): — A Commentary on the Third or Ezekiel's Temple (Berlin, 1822). See Fuirst, Bibl. Jud. 3, 516-521; Jost, Gesch. d. Judenth. u. s. Sekten, 3, 248 sq.; Kitto, Cyclop. s.v.; Gratz, Gesch. d. Juden, 11, 118 sq.; Heschel, ס8 עליות אליהו (Wilna, 1856); Finnl, קריה נאמנה (containing a history of the congregation of Wilna, biographies of its rabbins, etc. [ibid. 1860]), p. 133 sq. (B. P.)

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