Rabbi Elijah Ben Solomon Zalman (The Vilna Gaon or the Gr’a). The Gaon was born in Seltz (Sielec, Belarus today), and grew up in Vilna (Vilnius) Lithuania, part of the Polish-Lithuanian Empire, which came under Russian Protectorate in 1768 and collapsed in 1795. The Gaon was born on the first day of Passover 5480 (1720) and passed away on the 5th day of sukkot 5558 (1797). He was a descendant of the legalist Rabbi Moses Rivkes of Vilna (1591-1671), author of the Be’er HaGolah (Well for the Exiles) (or Be’er HaGulah – the uncovered well) commentary on the Shulkhan Arukh. The Gaon was called also Hasid during his lifetime, meaning righteous one, a title he might have inherited from his great grandfather R. Eliyahu Hasid.