Misnagdim: The Opposition to Hasidism

With the decline of Polish Jewry in the wake of the various catastrophes that overwhelmed them in the 17th century, the centre of Torah scholarship moved to Lithuania, which had been less affected by the tragedies. The Lithuanian Rabbis continued to uphold the traditional Jewish approach that equated religious leadership with scholarly mastery of the Talmud and the codes of Jewish religious law.

The most distinguished proponent of this position was Rabbi Elijah of Vilna.

Rabbi Elijah ben Solomon, the Ga'on of Vilna (1720-1797)

Note: The Hebrew word Ga'on ("pride") was originally a title restricted to the heads of the Talmudic academies, especially in Babylonia, during the immediate post-Talmudic era (until about the 12th century). In later usage it came to be applied more generally to outstanding Talmudic sages.

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