This Elibron Classics e-book is a facsimile reprint of a 1912 version by means of Veit & Comp., Leipzig.
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That experience left in the hearts of his disciples the impression that he had monumental dimensions, and it aroused in them the feeling of selfabnegation and submission to him. An apt expression of this feeling is found in the words chosen by Rabbi H . ayyim to conclude his introduction to the Gaon’s commentary on the Zohar: “These are my words, I being so tiny and minuscule, for I was able to taste of the sweetness of the words of our great and holy rabbi only as a dog licks. And all of my body trembles in awe before the heights of his holy Torah in revealed and hidden things to no limit.
In light of the Gaon’s statement that he did not greatly value understanding achieved by the ascent of the soul, Rabbi H . ayyim concludes that the Gaon did indeed experience ascent of the soul: “And the meaning of his holy words was that he had experienced an ascent of the soul every night from the day when he came into holy self-awareness. ” 58 Perhaps there is a degree of irony here, in that what was not so important in the eyes of the Gaon is used by his disciple as a most important means of acclaiming his name.
On the contrary, he believed that the insights and innovations he attained while laboring at the study of Torah came to him directly from the “mouth” of God. The process of Torah study appears here to be an event endowed with pronounced mystical signiﬁcance. Understanding Torah is a gift of divine grace, for God grants the student wisdom and understanding, by virtue of which he has the merit of producing new Torah teachings. From this point of view the revelations offered by the maggidim are of lesser value than one’s own studies.