web analytics
September 3, 2015 / 19 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
Kidz
Sponsored Post


Rabi Akiva Clarifies


Tales-of-The-Midrash-logo

The Strength Of Suffering

Man does not have it easy in this world. Sufferings are often visited upon him tempting him to curse his fate and ask why the Almighty punishes him so. But suffering has great value and serves a vital purpose. Rabi Akiva teaches this a clear and beautiful way.

Rabi Eliezer had been very ill and suffered a great deal. Fortunately, G-d had mercy upon the great sage and moved him from death’s door. As he improved, his devoted students came to visit him to voice their love and to give thanks that he had recovered.

“You are more important to us than the rain from heaven,” said Rabi Tarfon, “for rain is only important in this world but you, our Rebbe, are important both in this world and in the World to Come.”

“You are more important to us than the rays of the sun” declared Rabi Yehoshua, “for the sun is only vital to us in this world and not in the World to come.

“More,” said Rabi Elazar ben Azarya, “our Rebbe is more important to us than our own parents. They only bring us into this world but our Rebbe guides us in this world and leads us into the World to Come.”

When it was Rabi Akiva’s turn to comfort his master, he rose and said:

“Sweet are our sufferings.”

Everyone stared at Rabi Akiva, puzzled at the meaning of his words. Even Rabi Eliezer looked at his student and said to those around him:

“Let me sit up so that I may better hear and understand Akiva’s words.”

When he was propped up by his students, Rabi Eliezer asked:

“Tell me, my son, what did you mean when you said that our sufferings are sweet and dear to us. How do you know such a thing?”

“I have learned this from King Chizkiyahu,” Rabi Akiva replied. “Here was a great scholar and king who was able to teach Torah to all of Israel, but he was unable to teach his own son, Menashe, the ways of goodness and truth. His son walked on the path of wickedness and there was nothing the father could do.

“It was only when the Assyrian hordes captured him and tortured him and made his life bitter that he turned his eyes to Heaven and prayed to the Almighty.

“We see, therefore, that suffering, although apparently bitter, was the one thing that enabled a sinner to return unto G-d. Are we not justified then in saying that suffering is dear and sweet to man?”

The Right To Heal

There are certain misguided souls who believe that any nature which comes from G-d, must not be tampered with and should be allowed to take its course. Thus, when an illness strikes them or someone they love, they refuse to use the power of medicine, contending that this is going against the Will of G-d.

This is not the Jewish way as we can see from the following story:

One day, as Rabi Akiva and Rabi Yehoshua walked along the streets of Jerusalem engrossed in Torah conversation, a man looking weak and sickly approached them:

“Forgive me, Rebbe, for interrupting you but I am in need of assistance.”

“We will be glad to help you if we are able,” said the scholars.

“I am a very sick man and I suffer greatly. I have gone to many doctors who are unable to help me. Perhaps you can.”

The two sages, aside from being great Torah scholars, were also well versed in the science of medicine. They asked the man:

“What are your symptoms so that we may be able to diagnose your case?”

The man detailed his symptoms and they said:

“If you eat this specific food and drink this specific drink you will find yourself getting better.”

The man thanked them profusely and hurried away to do as they said.

One of the inhabitants of Jerusalem had watched the scene and heard the conversation. Walking over to Rabi Akiva and Rabi Yehoshua he asked:

“Tell me, who made this man ill?”

“Why, surely it was the Almighty,” replied the sages. “He is the One who moves all things in this world.”

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Rabi Akiva Clarifies”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Jim Bennett, zl, father of Education Minister and Bayit Yehudi party chairman Naftali Bennett.
Father of Naftali Bennett, Jim Bennett, 73, Passes Away
Latest Kidz Stories
Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

The poor farmer was thunderstruck and mortified. He ran back to the Chofetz Chaim and fell on his knees before the tzaddik, his eyes filled with tears.

Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

“Every year when I do the service in the Kodesh HaKedashim I behold a figure, that of an old man – an angel – who is always dressed in white and who enters and leaves with me.

Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

The sages asked them, “Why are you unwilling to instruct others?”

Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

Shimon HaTzaddik was appalled that the young man had become a nazir knowing that his hair would be cut.

“Let us ask that gentleman to explain this difficult passage to us,” they said to one another.

Her deed found great favor in the eyes of the Almighty and He sent blessings on the work of her hands so that she became wealthy.

On the third day, while waiting outside, they again heard a noise from the room.

“What!” she cried. “Didn’t you know that the ring contained an expensive diamond, which was worth a lot of money?”

Ptolemy, King of Egypt, had requested that 72 sages be sent to his country to translate the Torah. They were wined and dined and then the king put to them 72 questions, to test their wisdom. The Second Day On the second day, the king made a grand feast and he again began questioning the […]

The first question the king asked was, “What shall a king do to make his rule successful so that he can reign all of his life in peace and happiness?”

Aristeas remained in Jerusalem viewing the sights. He was honored by being permitted to view the kohanim doing the avodah in the Beis HaMikdash.

“Greetings to you,” they called out, “will you be kind enough to give us a blessing?”

“In Chad Gadya we find that the shochet kills the ox and is immediately killed in turn by the Malach HaMaves.

His fifth stage of life starts when he is 18 years of age. He is then compared to a mule.

To his amazement and disappointment, however, David HaMelech showed not the slightest indication of stopping for even a moment.

When his students saw the mule, they decided to clean it and smooth it for their teacher.

More Articles from Rabbi Sholom Klass
Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

The poor farmer was thunderstruck and mortified. He ran back to the Chofetz Chaim and fell on his knees before the tzaddik, his eyes filled with tears.

Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

“Every year when I do the service in the Kodesh HaKedashim I behold a figure, that of an old man – an angel – who is always dressed in white and who enters and leaves with me.

The sages asked them, “Why are you unwilling to instruct others?”

Shimon HaTzaddik was appalled that the young man had become a nazir knowing that his hair would be cut.

“Let us ask that gentleman to explain this difficult passage to us,” they said to one another.

Her deed found great favor in the eyes of the Almighty and He sent blessings on the work of her hands so that she became wealthy.

On the third day, while waiting outside, they again heard a noise from the room.

“What!” she cried. “Didn’t you know that the ring contained an expensive diamond, which was worth a lot of money?”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/kidz/midrash-stories/rabi-akiva-clarifies/2012/09/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: