Are the Gedolim misrepresented in literature?

A week ago, a story was reported by Ynet about a 14 year old in Israel who was going to be sitting the take the Rabbinate’s semicha exam (I first came across this at the Failedmessiah blog). In this past week’s HaModia, they reported on the same story.  One line stuck out at me.  HaModia reported that they had never encountered a 14 year old with such breadth and depth of knowledge to sit for semicha.  As I read those words, I turned to my wife and said, “Based on their statement, Artscroll biographies are all wrong.  Don’t they all begin by saying, ‘Rabbi X was an ilui and knew all of Shas by … age (under 10 usually).'”  I should also mention that HaModia publishes rabbi stories which also leave the same impression.  I find myself perplexed.  Of course, one could easily say that the editors of HaModia have never been exposed themselves to such a person but that many people were and are gifted like this person.


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