The Genius Rabbi

Elijah ben Solomon, Head Rabbi of Lithuania, memorized 2,500 volumes

Elijah ben Solomon (1720-1797) was the Head Rabbi of Lithuania, and the leader of the large Jewish community in Vilna. While he was revered for his piety, his mental powers were such that he was universally known as Elijah the Gaon (the Genius).

Elijah's brain was a library in itself; once he read a book, it was committed to his memory. This required no special effort on his part--it just happened! The Gaon is said to have memorized 2,500 Hebrew religious works. From these, he could quote any passage at will.