Anthology Topics:Cruelty  2 Erev Rav  3 Father  4 The First Man  5 Forefathers  6 Heretics 7 The Holy Temple  8 LimbsLove of G-d  10 Man  11 The Nations of the World 12 Prophecy 13 Reproof  14 Reward and Punishment 15 Suffering  16 Swiftness  17 Torah   18 Torah Study  19 The World to ComeB”H

gaonpicB”H Excerpts from An Anthology of the Gaon by

Rabbi Moshe Zuriel {Tzuriel}

A Selection of sayings of the Vilna Gaon regarding beliefs, extracted from most of the writings of his disciples, of those faithful to him, and from some of his own writings.

This Anthology is Not Appropriate For Non-Jewish
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Regarding the horrible punishment visited upon the gentiles (Egypt, Laban, Haman), Hashem performs no injustice. Those gentiles had already treated others similarly, and Hashem then repaid them measure for measure -commentary to Esther 7/7 at the simple level ( and see MahaRal Aggadot I/137 to Y’vamoth 63., section beginning with ein pur’anut).

The immense weight of the yoke of taxation stems from the fact that Israelites threw off the yoke of Torah – to Esther 1/1 at the remez level .

Even when a person arrives at the Garden of Eden, he doesn’t ascend to his appropriate level immediately, but rather bit by bit – to Esther 1/5 at the remez level.

”The point is that whatever benefits they bestow to a person in this world, they take from him in the World to Come, and so it is a big favor for the righteous that they lack much in this world, so that they will find their compensation complete in the World to Come… the point being. that however much is given here in silver, there it is taken away in gold – to Esther I/6 at the remez level (its origin: Sefer Hassidim, section 84).

The exile, galut was decreed for a specific reason, but the details of it are determined in accordance with the deeds of each generation. And so the Egyptian exile was decreed because of Avraham, but only when the angel of destruction was given a free hand, did each and every Egyptian enslave Israel according go his own desires (i.e. in accordance with his own freedom of choice)- to the Song of Songs 2/15 (and this is the ruling of the Zohar I/185, keivan d’ithm’sar bidha di’san’ohi ”since they were handed over to their enemies”, i.e., human beings have the ability to make a punishment weightier than what the Holy One Blessed be He actually decreed. In the writings of R. Zundel Salant, it is brought that he argued against this opinion.

If most of the world (i.e., of Israel) is deemed unworthy, Hashem does not give out the rewards for the various mitzvahs in this world, even not to the righteous amongst them, as we know (Nachmanides to Lev. 26:11). And Hashem may he be Blessed, gives it all to Israel in the World to Come, including the interest (alt. translation fruits) (of the principle reward) – to Song of Songs 5/2.

When do the righteous enjoy the interest (alt. translation, fruits) on the mitzvahs they have performed in this world? – when there are many righteous people. But if there is only a single righteous person, the interest/fruits due him are not enjoyed in this world – to Isaiah 3/10 and see Nachmanides to Lev. 26/11, who distinguishes between a community and an individual.

A righteous person’s success accrues to him only very slowly… for there is no human force capable of the absorbing light of success all at once, and this is similar to the light of the sun – to Job 8/7.


Translated for the spiritual elevation of Tzivia daughter of Dovid in the world to come. This translation was by more than one person and over a long period of time, therefore minor variations in translating styles appear here

Links to some of the other articles on this web site that portray the Gaon’s views:
* Monotheism Vs. The Outlook That Everything is G-d, by Mr. S. M. Scheinman which provides some background to the Gaon’s monotheistic beliefs.
* Divine Assistance 

Those that don’t tie their own Tzitzit – Beware!

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