In an extraordinary discovery, the binding of the volume of Tanach used and learned by the Vilna Gaon was unveiled in Jerusalem this week.
Only a very few known items belonging to the Vilna Gaon are still existing, which makes this discovery so meaningful.
As proofs of its notorious origin, an antique slip of paper glued to the inner binding attests, “Tanach learned by the teacher and master of Israel, the Chassid the Vilna Gaon zt”l.”
Additionally, on the inside paper lining of the back of the binding lists the name of the owner: “R’ Yaakov Moshe, grandson of the Gaon.”
According to this inscription, this 18th century Tanach was apparently bequeathed by the Vilna Gaon to his grandson Rabbi Yaakov Moshe of Slonim, son of Rabbi Avraham, the son of the Vilna Gaon, who was a prominent Torah scholar who toiled to edit and publish his grandfather’s legacy.
The binding shall be put up for public auction next week in Kedem Auction House in Jerusalem.
As said above, there are very few remaining items known to have belonged to the Vilna Gaon or even to have been touched by his hands. Among the extant items is his set of Shas with his personal annotations.
One volume that consisted of 5 masechtot (tractate) was sold approximately eight-and-a-half years ago by Kedem Auction House for over 2.3 million shekels.“We are privileged to have the great opportunity to reveal these sacred items that previously belonged to the Vilna Gaon, his children, grandchildren, and disciples to the Jewish public," declared Meron Eren, co-owner of the auction house.
"These items were formerly held in the private collection of world-renowned collector and bibliographer Yeshayahu Vinograd z”l, who was deeply devoted to the teachings of the Vilna Gaon."
"This is a remarkable item of great spiritual and historic significance that many have approached us with eager requests to merely touch,” Eren added.