Lithuania to release Euro coin honoring the Vilna Gaon

According to the website of the Bank of Lithuania, the commemorative 10-Euro coin will be released in the second quarter of 2020.

Euro (illustrative) (photo credit: Courtesy)
Euro (illustrative)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Lithuania is going to release a special commemorative 10-Euro-coin honoring the great Jewish sage Rabbi Elijah ben Solomon Zalman, better known as the Vilna Gaon or the Gra, on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of his birth.
According to the website of the Bank of Lithuania, the coin will weigh about 23 grams, be made out of silver and will be minted in the country.
It is scheduled to be released in the second quarter of 2020. The event will also mark the first time that a Euro coin features Hebrew letters.


The letter shin – which, according to gematria, has a numerical value of 300 - will be carved on one side of it, alongside with the acronym hei-gimel-resh-alef, indicating Ha-Gaon-Rabbi-Eliahu. A stylized Torah scroll with the number 300 will complete the decorations.
On the other side, the coin will carry the design of a menorah, as well as the Hebrew year, 5780, both in numbers and in letters. Moreover, its border will feature an inscription in Hebrew and Lithuanian reading: "The year of the Vilna Gaon and the history of the Jews of Lithuania."
The Vilna Gaon was born in April 1720. He was the leader of the community and one of the greatest Torah scholars of all times. As it is pointed out on the website of Yad Vashem, under his leadership, Vilna became known as the "Jerusalem of Lithuania."
On the eve of the Holocaust, Lithuania and its capital were one of the most vibrant Jewish centers in the world. About 30% of Vilna's population - 30,000 people – were Jewish. Overall about 200,000 Jews lived in the country, the vast majority of whom were wiped out.
According to estimation by Hebrew University demographer Sergio Della Pergola, between 2,500 and 6,500 Jews live in the country today.