Searching for the Vilna Gaon
dir. Vytautas Puidokas, Lithuania, 2020, 7’30 min
Many things about the legendary figure of the Vilna Gaon remain a mystery up to this day – what did he look like? are all the stories about his ascetic yet profoundly enlightened life mere fiction? Lithuanian film director Vytautas Puidokas attempts to tap into the mystery of this prolific Talmudist, halakhist, kabbalist and thinker, born as Elijah ben Solomon Zalman in 1720. In a short, but poignant film he highlights our elusive knowledge, yet enduring impact, of this man’s legacy. What in fact are we searching for when we embark on the quest to find the genius of the Vilna Gaon?
This video has been commissioned by the Lithuanian Culture Institute in cooperation with Lithuanian cultural attachés on the occasion of the Year of the Vilna Gaon and of the history of the Jews in Lithuania.