Monday, January 11, 2010

Manuscript of the Vilna Gaon

It's now possible to view a short manuscript of the Vilna Gaon in its entirety online. It was printed in 1882 under the name קיצור היכלות הקדושה להגרא ז"ל (מגוף כי"ק)י in יהל אור (pp. 72-74; 130-132 in the hbooks link).

I can't vouch for the total accuracy of the following statement, but according to the notes on this manuscript, today only four autograph Vilna Gaon manuscripts are known, and this is one of them.

Part of the The Braginsky Collection, called to my attention by Ishim ve-shitos.


  1. Two observations:

    1- It's legible! Or at least, would have been easily read before the ink faded.

    2- I find it interesting that the Gra generally held his pen nib horizontally, so that vertical lines are more often wider than the horizontal ones. In Kesav Bet Yosef (and Ari), and for that matter in most classical square fonts, it's the horizontal lines that are wide and the verticals that are narrow. (In the Sepharadi Kesav Velish, the pen is held at a slight angle, exaggerated in modern fonts like the ubuiquitous Yehudah.)

    Anyway... Was the Gra a lefty?

  2. They portray him as being beyond human so often that it's mind altering to see him writing on a paper like any other person.



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