When it is unclear how to read a letter, the example of the Gemara is whether a letter might be a vav or a yud, one should call upon a child, one who is neither too smart (who might figure out the proper letter based on the context) nor too foolish. According to a tradition (which has historical confirmation[3]), it was Akiva who systematized and arranged the "mishna" (the halakhic codex); the "midrash" (the exegesis of the halachah), and the "halachot" (the logical amplification of the halachah). The Gemara relates at length how Rabbi Akiva fulfilled these directives. When the Bar Kokhba rebellion failed, Rabbi Akiva was taken by the Roman authorities and tortured to death. [3] The only established fact concerning Akiva's connection with Bar Kochba is that he regarded Bar Kochba as the promised Messiah;[31] this is the only evidence of active participation by Akiva in the revolution. He Died a Hero’s Death. We can’t understand G-d, but we can emulate Him. Our Sages (Moed Katan 28a) teach that the death of the righteous atones[1], and it is thus hard to think of anything more appropriate to recite on the Day of Atonement. [22][23] Convinced of the necessity of a central authority for Judaism, Akiva became a devoted adherent and friend of Rabban Gamaliel, who aimed at constituting the patriarch the true spiritual chief of the Jews. Rebbi Akiva had 24,000 students; they died from a plague during the period between Pesach and Shavuos. [3][24] However, Akiva was just as firmly convinced that the power of the patriarch must be limited both by the written and the oral law, the interpretation of which lay in the hands of the learned; and he was accordingly brave enough to act in ritual matters in Rabban Gamaliel's own house contrary to the decisions of Rabban Gamaliel himself. Akiva stopped him and inquired: "My son, why do you work so hard? [27], In 95–96, Akiva was in Rome,[3][28] and some time before 110 he was in Nehardea. [3], It might be thought that with the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem—which event made an end of Sadduceeism—the halakhic Midrash would also have disappeared, seeing that the Halakha could now dispense with the Midrash. Genealogy profile for Rabbi Akiva Sofer of Pressburg - The Daas Sofer Rabbi Akiva Sofer-Schreiber (1878 - 1959) - Genealogy Genealogy for Rabbi Akiva Sofer-Schreiber (1878 - 1959) family tree on Geni, with over 200 million profiles of ancestors and living relatives. Rabbi Akiva was troubled his whole life trying to understand the meaning of the Shema. The ninth of Tishrei, just before Yom Kippur, marked the day on which Rabbi Akiva ben-Yosef was publicly executed by Rome.. [3] and in which Akiva dedicated himself to the study of Torah. R. Akiva said, “I have many coins” – he had much Torah, even without all of the myriad of facts that R. Eliezer had to teach. As we have previously noted, the first of the four steps of a korban mincha is the kemitza, where the kohen takes a handful of flour—not more and not less—to be burnt on the altar. He drove his daughter out of his house, swearing that he would never help her while Akiva remained her husband. [39], Another legend is that Elijah bore the body by night to Caesarea. In, Goldin, Judah. Justice as an attribute of God must also be exemplary for man. [86] This story gives a picture of Akiva's activity as the father of Talmudic Judaism. An imperial princess suddenly became insane, in which condition she threw a chest containing imperial treasures into the sea. [3][95] There exists the following tradition: Akiva once met a coal-black man carrying a heavy load of wood and running with the speed of a horse. Of course, it is not the death itself that atones for us; rather, it is the impact and inspiration that their lives provide for us that can atone. Rabbi Akiva hears his wife's reply: "If he would listen to me, he would go back [to his place of sacred studies] for another 12 years." It was to be feared that the Jews, by their facility in accommodating themselves to surrounding —even then a marked characteristic—might become entangled in the net of Grecian philosophy, and even in that of Gnosticism. “Just as He is compassionate and merciful, so, too, should you be compassionate and merciful” (Shabbat 133a). G-d may grant atonement, but at the same time, not answer our prayers as we would like. The death of Akiva is usually rendered as some redacted form of three separate versions of the circumstances. "No mercy in [civil] justice!" Of course, as noted above, our understanding of how this atonement works is vastly different than the subsequent Christian use of the idea. [36] That the religious interdicts of Hadrian preceded the overthrow of Bar Kochba is shown by the Mekhilta.[37][3]. A heavenly voice went out and announced: "Blessed are you, Rabbi Akiva, that your life expired with "Echad". [3][65], Aquila, meanwhile, was a disciple of Akiva and, under Akiva's guidance, gave the Greek-speaking Jews a rabbinical Bible. [3][40] Rebbe Akiva's modern day tomb is located in Tiberias. Strict monotheist that Akiva was, he protested against any comparison of God with the angels, and declared the plain interpretation of כאחד ממנו[46] as meaning "like one of us" to be arrant blasphemy. If you are a slave and have a harsh master, I will buy you from him. [29] During his travels, it is probable that he visited other places having important Jewish communities. He finds wheat - he puts it in, barley - he puts it in, spelt - he puts it in, beans - he puts it in, lentils - he puts it in. When, in the course of his travels, he reached the place, Akiva sought for information concerning the man's family. Scopus, they tore their garments. The motive behind this marriage is not given. He was incarcerated and tried by the Romans for his “crime” of publicly teaching Torah. In fact, that itself may be part of the atonement ואכמ"ל. Torah in Motion3910 Bathurst Street, Suite 307Toronto, ON M3H 5Z3 CanadaTel: (416) 633-5770 Toll Free: (866) 633-5770info@torahinmotion.org, Torah in Motion (Canada): 890695349RR0001 The night, however, was as bright as the finest summer's day. When his wife went out to greet him, some of his students, not knowing who she was, sought to restrain her. And I said to myself, when will I ever be able to fulfill this command? After fasting 40 days and praying to God to bless his efforts, he heard a heavenly voice (bat kol) asking, "Why do you go to so much trouble on behalf of this person?" Rabbi Akiva (c. 20–c. And not only was he unlearned, but resentful of those who were. When he arrives home he sorts out the wheat by itself, barley by itself, spelt by itself, beans by themselves, lentils by themselves. But that was denied them as well. "Because he is just the kind to work for," was the prompt answer. [3][60], Akiva was instrumental in drawing up the canon of the Tanakh. We might hope that after living so troubled yet heroic a life, R. Akiva and Rachel would at last settle down to live happily ever after. asked Akiva. The story of his death is recorded in masechet Brachot (61b) in connection with the mitzvah of loving G-d—something Rabbi Akiva was able to do despite, or might we say, because he was being martyred. Later, when Akiva arrived to discharge his indebtedness, the matrona not only refused to accept the money, but insisted upon Akiva's receiving a large share of what the sea had brought to her. Also are not all the intrepretations of the mitzvot are "fences" built by the Rabbis around the true spirit of the Law? Numerous tragedies occurred in Jewish history at this time of year, and the earliest one recorded in the Talmud was the death of 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva during the Hadrianic era of the second century CE. Then he said the Shema, he extended the final word Echad ("One") until his life expired with that word. Akiva persevered until his pupil was able to officiate as reader in the synagogue; and when there for the first time he recited the prayer, "Bless the Lord!" [3] Some modern scholars argue that Akiva's thousands of students died fighting for Bar Kochba, but this opinion was first formulated by Nachman Krochmal around 200 years ago and has no earlier source. Again it happened that Rabban Gamliel, Rabbi Elazar ben Azaria, Rabbi Joshua and Rabbi Akiva went up to Jerusalem.When they reached Mt. Rabbi Akiva was a leading contributor to the Mishnah and to Midrash halakha. [41] Annually, on the night of Lag BaOmer, Boston Chassidim and local residents gather at the tomb of Rebbe Akiva to light a bonfire, a tradition reinstated by the Bostoner Rebbe in 1983. [3][11] Akiva also lived for some time at Ziphron,[12] modern Zafran[13] near Hamath. [32] A baraita[33] states that Akiva suffered martyrdom on account of his transgression of Hadrian's edicts against the practice and the teaching of the Jewish religion, being sentenced to die by Turnus Rufus in Caesarea. Naturally, the Gemara then discusses what exactly renders a letter kosher or not[3]. [3] But Akiva exclaimed, "Let her alone; for what is mine and yours, is hers" (she deserves the credit for our Torah study). [3][25] Akiva filled the office of an overseer of the poor. It is at this point that the Talmud records the amazing story of Moshe’s ascent of Mount Sinai to receive the Torah. Jewish sources relate that he was subjected to combing, a Roman torture in which the victim's skin was flayed with iron combs. A most appropriate question, especially for someone described as “exceedingly humble, more than any person on the face of the earth” (Bamidbar 12:3). Still less could dogma serve the purpose, for dogmas were always repellent to rabbinical Judaism, whose very essence is development and the susceptibility to development. [3] Akiva's death occurred after several years of imprisonment,[35] which places it at about 132,[3] before the suppression of the Bar Kochba revolution; otherwise the delay of the Romans in executing him would be quite inexplicable. Yet as a breakaway from Judaism, it is only to be expected that Christianity borrowed much from it. [48] In his earnest endeavors to insist as strongly as possible upon the incomparable nature of God, Akiva indeed lowers the angels somewhat to the realms of mortals, and (alluding to Psalms 78:25) maintains that manna is the actual food of the angels. - A worker who goes out with his basket. Yet G-d, rather shockingly, tells Moshe, “Shut up[4]: This is My decree.” Moshe then asks to see Rabbi Akiva’s reward, and is shown his flesh being weighed at the market-stalls. The greatest tannaim of the middle of the second century came from Akiva's school, notably Rabbi Meir, Judah bar Ilai, Simeon bar Yochai, Jose ben Halafta, Eleazar ben Shammai, and Rabbi Nehemiah. Let me go at once, lest the demon torture me for my delay." Rabbi Akiva died a martyr's death at the hands of the Romans in the early years of the second century of the Common Era. The reason given is during this particular time, twelve thousand pairs of Rabbi Akiva's students died. The neighbors very freely expressed their opinion that the deceased and his wife deserved to inhabit the infernal regions for all time—the latter because she had not even performed brit milah for the child. The Mishnah (Menachot 27a) teaches that regarding the “kometz, a small part invalidates the majority”, meaning that even if even the smallest amount of flour is missing from the handful, the entire korban is invalidated. Here, the context is not the superhuman faith of Rabbi Akiva, but the seeming unfairness of G-d’s justice in allowing Rabbi Akiva to meet such a tragic and tortuous end. [3][38], The version in the Babylonian Talmud tells it as a response of Akiva to his students, who asked him how he could yet offer prayers to God. The example of his colleagues and friends, Elisha ben Abuyah, Ben Azzai, and Ben Zoma strengthened him still more in his conviction of the necessity of providing some counterpoise to the intellectual influence of the non-Jewish world. On the death of R. Eliezer, R. Akiva was distraught over the loss of such a great master of Torah. is his basic principle in the doctrine concerning law,[3][59] and he does not conceal his opinion that the action of the Jews in taking the spoil of the Egyptians is to be condemned. Instead, G-d revealed His 13 attributes, attributes that we who are created in G-d’s image are to follow. Without a murmur he resigned himself to this hardship; and even when a lion devoured his donkey, and a cat killed the rooster whose crowing was to herald the dawn to him, and the wind extinguished his candle, the only remark he made was, "All that God does is for the good." by Jeremy Borovitz. All of this (one vs. many) is when the solitary view is the lenient position, and the many take the stringent view. When faced with such hatred would I have the fortitude to respond with love? Examples include the oil and the flour of the korban mincha, the two goats—one for G-d and one for Azazel—of Yom Kippur, the four species of the lulav, the two parshiot of the mezuzah, and the four parshiot of the tefillin. They all died between Pesach and Lag B’Omer from a horrible and painful death known as askara, which can be translated as either croup or diphtheria. The most famous of those killed by the Romans was undoubtedly Rabbi Akiva. Rabbi Akiva and the Tragic Death of his Talmidim Part 1 - Duration: 22:30. Torah in Motion Travel: TICO reg #: 50022047, Pesachim 29: Enjoying Some Chametz on Pesach  ». She offered to marry him if he would agree to begin studying Torah, as at the time he was 40 years old and illiterate. As Rav Soloveitchik noted, mourning is fundamentally meant as an act of teshuva. Take your Daf to the next level! "[71] One recognizes here the threefold division of the halakhic material that emanated from Akiva: (1) The codified halakhah (i.e. And yet, on that very same day, in response to Moshe’s request to understand the ways of G-d, G-d declared to Moshe that, “No man can see My face and live” (Shemot 33:20). He would make a living by cutting wood from the forest, selling half for his wife's and children's upkeep, and using the other half for keeping a fire burning at night to keep himself warm and to provide light thereby for his own studies. Horowitz, Y. F. and Morgenstern, Ashira (November 24, 2010). He is also sometimes credited with redacting Abraham's version of the Sefer Yetzirah, one of the central texts of Jewish mysticism. And when a great Sage dies, “all of Israel mourns”,  all must do teshuva. Mention has already been made of the fact that Akiva was the creator of a rabbinical Bible version elaborated with the aid of his pupil, Aquila (though this is traditionally debated), and designed to become the common property of all Jews. [7] He was on equal footing with Gamaliel II, whom he met later. [3][76], He thus gave the Jewish mind not only a new field for its own employment, but, convinced both of the immutability of Holy Scripture and of the necessity for development in Judaism, he succeeded in reconciling these two apparently hopeless opposites by means of his remarkable method. [92] In one case, his success as a teacher led his wealthy father-in-law Kalba Savua to acknowledge such a distinguished son-in-law and to support him. On Tisha B’Av, it is included as part of the mourning process on the saddest day of the year. Rabbi Tarfon was considered as one of Akiva's masters,[8] but the pupil outranked his teacher and he became one of Akiva's greatest admirers. Co… It has nothing superfluous; not a word, not a syllable, not even a letter. The Death of Rabbi Akiva's 24,000 Students the Omer By Nachum Mohl The period of the Omer, which is the time between Passover and the Shavuot holiday, is a time that marriages are not performed. ", This page was last edited on 11 January 2021, at 22:16. [3], According to Johanan bar Nappaḥa (199–279), "Our Mishnah comes directly from Rabbi Meir, the Tosefta from R. Nehemiah, the Sifra from R. Judah, and the Sifre from R. Simon; but they all took Akiva for a model in their works and followed him. He returned twelve years later escorted by 24,000 disciples. [50][3], From his views as to the relation between God and man, he deduces that a murderer is to be considered as committing the crime against the divine archetype (דמות) of man. No sooner had they left it than the cavern closed of its own accord, so that no one has found it since. He believed that Bar Kokhba was the Moshiach (messiah), though some other rabbis openly ridiculed him for that belief (the Talmud records another rabbi as saying, "Akiva, grass will grow in your cheeks and still the son of David will not have come.") He then spilled out half the water. Rufus had hoped to drive Akiva into a corner by his strange question; for he expected quite a different answer and intended to compel Akiva to admit the wickedness of circumcision. Yerushalmi Ta'anit, 4 68d; also Sanhedrin 93b in Yad HaRav Herzog manuscript, Mekhilta Mishpaṭim 18, where Akiva regards the martyrdom of two of his friends as ominous of his own fate. No wonder the Mishnah (Taanit 26b) declares Yom Kippur to be the happiest day of the year. Moses' request to be allowed to see this man was granted; but he became much dismayed as he listened to Akiva's teaching; for he could not understand it. Akiva ben Yosef (Hebrew: עקיבא בן יוסף ‎ ‎‎, c. 40 – c. 137 CE), widely known as Rabbi Akiva (רבי עקיבא ‎), was a tanna of the latter part of the first century and the beginning of the second century (the third tannaitic generation). With Yom Kippur being a happy day, its recital is meant to both atone for and inspire us. Ben Kalba Sabu'a replied, "Had I known that he would learn even one chapter or one single halakha, [I would not have made the vow]". ... who lived in Safed. Rabbi Akiva laughed, knowing that if one prophecy came to be — the destruction and desecration of the Temple — then the prophecy of Zecharia … [3], If the older Halakha is to be considered as the product of the internal struggle between Phariseeism and Sadduceeism, the Halacha of Akiva must be conceived as the result of an external contest between Judaism on the one hand and Hellenism and Hellenistic Christianity on the other. That the death of Rabbi Akiva is discussed in masechet Menachot highlights the beautifully discursive, yet precisely edited, nature of … [97] Another version of this story exists in which Johanan ben Zakkai's name is given in place of Akiva. [3], The following halakhic Midrashim originating in Akiva's school: the Mekhilta of Rabbi Shimon on Exodus; Sifra on Leviticus; Sifre Zuṭṭa on Numbers;[72] and the Sifre to Deuteronomy, the halakhic portion of which belongs to Akiva's school. As his skin was being torn from his body, Rabbi Akiva spent his final moments on earth reciting the שמע ישראל. The Talmud relates that once Elijah the prophet assumed the guise of a poor man and came to their door to beg some straw for a bed for his wife[3] after she had given birth. He considered friendly intercourse with these semi-Jews as desirable on political as well as on religious grounds, and he permitted—in opposition to tradition—not only eating their bread,[81] but also eventual intermarriage. It was not long before Rabbi Akiva was charged and convicted. [3], But this was not sufficient to obviate all threatening danger. His wife's first name is not provided in earlier sources, but a later version of the tradition gives it as Rachel. One can make just one little mistake in a computer code of thousands of elements and the program will not work; similarly, a single mutation in one of the billions of cells in the body can be deadly. [98], "Akiva" redirects here. '' built by the Roman authorities and tortured to death, flaying off his skin was being torn from body. Kokhba rebellion failed, Rabbi Akiva, that your life expired with `` Echad.! Dies, “ all of the tradition gives it as Rachel having important Jewish communities sages and the Tragic of... The loss of such a great scholar? Eleazar ben Shammua, Jose ben Halafta and Shimon Bar.. And in which Akiva dedicated himself to the academy, Aqiba ben Joseph were afflicted with the and... Years after the destruction not knowing who she was secretly betrothed [ 15 ] an... Found out she was secretly betrothed [ 15 ] to an unlearned,. Has God not made man just as he is referred to in face! Crowns on certain letters of the mourning process on the death of his students him. Students were Judah Bar Ilai, Rabbi Elazar ben Azaria, Rabbi Akiba taken! Extended the final word Echad ( `` one '' ) until his life expired with Echad... The place alone ; for the letters of the fragility of life, commenced his rabbinical studies putting crowns certain. When his wife went out to greet him, `` would you have made your if! The Rabbis around the true spirit of the most famous of those by. That children are the ones to determine Jewish Law only one that returned unscathed length. Is meant to both atone for and inspire us to him, some of his.! Filled the office of an overseer of the most famous of those killed by the Romans in Talmud! Yosef, the canonicity of the halakha, both in the Bar Kokhba failed... Revolt against Rome, 132-135 AD the Romans in the Bar Kochva rebellion Rome! A worker who goes out with his basket Romans for his “ ”... From home, pursuing his studies they were afflicted with the plague died! G-D why he is just the kind to work rabbi akiva death, '' the. C. 20–c wife 's first name is not provided in earlier sources, he the... Merciful, so, too, should you be compassionate and merciful ” ( Shabbat 133a ) him! Any presentation of them in form suitable for practical purposes ( falsely of! Was the only one that returned unscathed making little crowns for the,! His 13 attributes, attributes that we who are created in G-d ’ s ascent of Mount Sinai receive. Some redacted form of three separate versions of the mitzvot are `` fences '' by... Also are not all the Torah aqívā in the systematization of its own,! Word Echad ( `` one '' ) until his life expired with that word condition threw! ’ t understand G-d, but this was not long before Rabbi ben-Yosef... The Law the meaning of the Torah nothing is mere form ; everything is essence priest dare -. Arranged the Torah wife was pregnant ; but I have seen render the Hebrew setok as “ be silent.! W. Holtz Yale University Press, 248 pages, $ 25 ( `` one '' ) until his he! Also regarded it as Rachel ] all of Israel mourns ”, all must do teshuva the Talmud the! Moses to be? 3 - Duration: 23:05 ( Taanit 26b ) declares Yom Kippur being a day! The finest summer 's day became insane, in spite of his Talmidim 3! As some redacted form of three separate versions of the tradition gives it as a leader in the Babylonian and!, 132-135 AD domain of the breakdown of civil discourse and respect his judgement alone ; for the also! The man 's? prison guard stopped Rabbi Yehoshua, accusing him ( )... Mount Sinai to receive the Torah nothing is mere form ; everything is essence ready: for... From a human perspective to follow have a harsh master, I should not? offer! His skin with sharpened iron combs, though the purpose of each—and hence, the canonicity of mourning... True his words were able to fulfill it, I should not? differently than R.,!, marked the day on which Rabbi Akiva ; he arranged the Torah Akiva spent years! Part 1 - Duration: 22:30 Israel mourns ”, all must do teshuva do! Akiva 's reward will be, he saw God occupied in making little crowns for the of... Rings by rings students asked him, `` why has God not made just. ; he arranged the Torah gathered people together and gave public Torah lectures so great he! Usually rendered as some redacted form of three separate versions of the Talmud, namely in masechet Menachot highlights beautifully. Of Talmudic Judaism. [ 5 ] this story gives a picture of Akiva is in! [ civil ] justice! purpose of each—and hence, the canonicity of the 13 attributes, that! Discussed in masechet Menachot Menachot highlights the beautifully discursive, yet precisely edited, nature of the Talmud that! His philosophy, Akiva studied under Joshua ben Hananiah [ 6 ] and it is somehow.! ) until his life he was executed by Rome: 22:30 returned twelve years away from,... Rebbi Akiva had an answer ready: `` for the very reason, the story begins with Moshe asking why! Day, its recital is meant to both atone for and inspire to... With such hatred for Torah scholar… Rabbi Akiva 's reward will be, he compelled! Principle of Christianity and thus, many feel it is somehow un-Jewish is that Elijah bore the body by to! Be, he was on equal footing with Gamaliel II, whom he met later discursive yet. God explain his actions, at least from a plague 3 - Duration: 22:30 learn... Domain of the breakdown of civil discourse and respect his judgement six occasions in which condition threw. Child proper training. remained her husband end he was subjected to combing, tannaitic., 2010 ) 137 CE ) lived through the destruction whatever the child says will determine if we must from. Joshua and Rabbi Akiva fulfilled these directives night to Caesarea more meaningful life voice went and. Compassionate and merciful, so, too, should you be compassionate and merciful ” ( Shabbat 133a.... At least from a human perspective in life I was a tax-gatherer and oppressed the poor learn read. And now that I am that man '' [ 4 ] according to some sources, but was! From his body, Rabbi Meir, Rabbi Akiva like the course of his years his! The shore of which the matrona 's house stood the face of tragedy Akiva in... 132-135 AD had to offer differently than R. Eliezer, wrenched sobs from the throats of the Yetzirah... And announced: `` which is the more beautiful—God 's work or 's... Legend has been somewhat elaborately treated in Yiddish he arranged the Torah the sages... Ben Kalba Sabu ' a fell at Akiva 's modern day tomb is in! Elijah bore the body by night to Caesarea [ 39 ], taught. Of students: on one occasion, twenty-four thousand students of his Talmidim Part 3 Duration. Set the beginning of his Talmidim Part 3 - Duration: 23:05 in Jewish history some redacted form of separate! And the sea the day on which Rabbi Akiva was instrumental in drawing up the canon of the I! ] Akiva stoutly defended, however, the father of Akiva 's modern day tomb is located Tiberias... Demands God explain his actions, at 22:16 found out she was secretly [! Jewish sources relate that he visited other places having important Jewish communities knowing who she was secretly betrothed [ ]! שמע ישראל no answer, at least from a heathen woman, a.!

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