web analytics
April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Kidz
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Rav Akiva Eiger


Share Button

The Modesty Of Our Gaonim

Modesty and humility are traits that were usually found in our Gaonim. When the Chasam Sofer was courting the daughter of the Gaon, Rav Akiva Eiger, the chief rabbi of Posen (born Nov. 8, 1761 – died Oct. 12, 1837), he wrote to the Gaon in­quiring about the qualities of his daughter.

Rav Eiger replied lauding the piety and religiosity of his daughter. He con­cluded his letter in the following manner: “My daughter is a ‘Tzadeikes,’ a saintly person, and she is truly G-d-fearing. But I am a little concerned about the passage of the Talmud (Pesachim 49a) wherein Chazal state that every person should try to take unto himself the daughter of a ‘talmid chacham,’ a learned person. Unfortunately I have not as yet reached the category of a ‘talmid chacham.’ Therefore, I am doubtful of the qualifica­tions of this shidduch…”

Back came the reply from the Chasam Sofer. “I am happy to read about the good qualities of your daughter; your word is more valuable to me than the testimony of a hundred witnesses. While you may be worrying about the first portion of that Gemara and the admonition of Chazal, I am worrying about the latter portion of that Gemara wherein Chazal also state, ‘A person should sell all of his possessions, if need be, in order that he should be able to marry off his daughter to a talmid chacham.’ I too am worrying whether I may be called a talmid chacham.”

 

Rejects Fancy Titles

Although Rav Eiger was one of the greatest Gaonim in his generation, the rosh yeshiva and Av Beth Din in his city of Posen, he never signed his name with the title of “Rav” or “Rabbi.” He merely wrote his name, Akiva.

Once, one of the prominent Gaonim of his generation had an occasion to write him a letter inquiring about a psak din. He prefaced the letter with many adjec­tives such as Gaon, Crown of Israel, Light of the Exile, Rav of all the Jews in the Diaspora, etc.

Rav Akiva looked at the let­ter and began to weep.

“Master, why do you weep? Is there bad news in this letter?” his students asked him.

“No,” he replied. “I weep because such a great man as this Gaon could make a terrible mistake by calling me such fancy and erudite names. Little does he know how undeserving I am of these titles.”

 

Seeks No Higher Post

When Rabi Shmuel, the Av Beth Din of Vilna died, the leaders of the community sent a delegation to Posen to offer the job to Rav Akiva. He accepted them with great honor and enjoyed discussing Torah with them.

But when he heard the purpose of their visit, he began to tremble. “You have made a terrible mistake,” he said. “I am not worthy to be a leader in your great city, the city which is famous as the stronghold of the Vilna Gaon. I am not even worthy to be the shamash of the shul in your city.”

He refused the honor and remained in Posen until his last years.

 

Honors His Colleague

Once, Rav Eiger, and the Gaon Rabi Yaacov, chief rabbi of Lisa, journeyed to War­saw to attend a conclave of rabbanim. All the Jews of Warsaw, its leaders and scholars, waited at the entrance of the city to wel­come these two great luminaries of Israel.

When their coach arrived in the city, it was surrounded by a multitude of people who cleared a path through the streets for it to proceed.  All the great leaders of the city walked in front of the coach as a sign of respect and reverence to these two great Gaonim.

Rav Akiva, seeing all this pomp and honor, thought to himself, “Surely the people are honoring my colleague, the great rav of Lisa, who is accompanying me in this coach. It is therefore only pro­per that I, too, pay him homage.”

He thereupon descended from the coach and walked in front of it to show his respect to his colleague.

 

Would Not Cheat The Government

Rav Akiva never wanted to accept the position of chief rabbi. He disdained the honor that came with the office. When he heard that the local bathhouse needed an attendant, he applied for the position. But of course the people of the city would never think of degrading their rav, and they finally prevailed upon him to assume the office of chief rabbi for the interest of all Jewry.

When he did accept the job he de­voted all of his efforts to aiding his fellow Jews. Though not a strong man in build, he never knew when to stop when it came to his fellow man’s welfare.

Share Button

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.

No Responses to “Rav Akiva Eiger”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
ancient skull discovered Gush Etzion
Hikers Find Human Skull and Bones in Gush Etzion Cave
Latest Kidz Stories
Tales of the Gaonim-logo

“The mitzvah of drawing water for the baking of the matzah for the Seder comes only once a year. I do not care to share it with a horse.’’

Tales-of-The-Midrash-logo

“You speak foolishly, daughter, how is it possible for a man who has not eaten for 10 years to live?”

Tales of the Gaonim-logo

With enthusiasm, zemiros that had been purposefully collected for the evening were chanted.

Tales of the Gaonim-logo

Bnei Yisrael marched out of Mitzrayim with a mighty hand under their great leader Moshe. This was not, however, their first attempt to escape from Mitzrayim and return to the land that G-d had promised their fathers.

Rabi Pinchas’ piety and honesty were known far and wide. He would often say, “Even though our Sages (Yevamot 65b) declared that to preserve the peace, a person may change his words to fit the situation, I will never utter a false word regardless of the consequences.” If he heard that one of his followers had uttered a false word, he would expel him from his presence.

When Bnei Yisrael returned to their homeland they were a poor and weak group of people. Because of the great number of enemies and wild animals that had inhabited the land during their exile, they huddled together in a few areas, like Yerushalayim, in order to find protection.

But not everyone is destined to taste of the fruit of this world and to enjoy its vintage. Among the inhabitants of this town lived a poor man, Nachumka.

In the midst of his merrymaking, the king ordered his servants to bring out the golden vessels that were taken from the Beit HaMikdash by his father Nevuchadnezzar. The king and his men drank from them and praised the gods of gold and silver.

The Jewish people are hardly strangers to persecution and tyranny. When we hear of the complaints of other peoples, we smile bitterly and wonder: What do they know of persecution? What do they know of tragedy and bitterness? We are a people who have experienced oppression for centuries and have drunk deeply of the bitter cup of woe.

Although Daniel was the chief minister in Bavel, he could not eradicate the custom practiced in many provinces of worshipping idols. In the capital city there was a statue of Baal and more and more people began to worship it. Even the king was beginning to believe in its power.

There was once a tzaddik from Poland, Reb Velveli, who decided to settle in Eretz Yisrael. The land was poor and inhabited by very few people, but he and his wife had such love for the land that they were willing to suffer privation and hunger just to be one of its citizens.

Through the influence of Daniel, one of Nevuchadnezar’s ministers, his three companions, Chananiah, Mishael and Azariah were appointed as governors over various provinces in Bavel.

The stories concerning Rav Naftali of Ropshitz are quite numerous and reveal his sharp biting wit. Rav Naftali was often persecuted and sneered at by misnagdim but the sharp mind with which he was blessed always served him in good stead in finding proper answers.

In the third year of the reign of Yehoyakim, melech Yehuda, Nevuchadnezzar, melech Bavel, lay siege to Yerushalayim and conquered it. He took many treasures from the Beis HaMikdash back with him to the land of Shinar.

Reb Moshe Chaim Ephraim, the grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, was a deeply learned man who took his sources and admonitions from the Torah.

In the city of Antioch there lived a man of remarkable generosity by the name of Aba Yehudah. He was a man who gave to all, whenever there was a need. Rabi Yehoshua and several other rabbanim arrived in the city one day on an urgent mission to collect money for the unfortunate needy. They knew that Aba Yehudah always gave a generous contribution so they looked forward to seeing him.

More Articles from Rabbi Sholom Klass
Tales of the Gaonim-logo

“The mitzvah of drawing water for the baking of the matzah for the Seder comes only once a year. I do not care to share it with a horse.’’

Tales-of-The-Midrash-logo

“You speak foolishly, daughter, how is it possible for a man who has not eaten for 10 years to live?”

With enthusiasm, zemiros that had been purposefully collected for the evening were chanted.

Bnei Yisrael marched out of Mitzrayim with a mighty hand under their great leader Moshe. This was not, however, their first attempt to escape from Mitzrayim and return to the land that G-d had promised their fathers.

Rabi Pinchas’ piety and honesty were known far and wide. He would often say, “Even though our Sages (Yevamot 65b) declared that to preserve the peace, a person may change his words to fit the situation, I will never utter a false word regardless of the consequences.” If he heard that one of his followers had uttered a false word, he would expel him from his presence.

When Bnei Yisrael returned to their homeland they were a poor and weak group of people. Because of the great number of enemies and wild animals that had inhabited the land during their exile, they huddled together in a few areas, like Yerushalayim, in order to find protection.

But not everyone is destined to taste of the fruit of this world and to enjoy its vintage. Among the inhabitants of this town lived a poor man, Nachumka.

In the midst of his merrymaking, the king ordered his servants to bring out the golden vessels that were taken from the Beit HaMikdash by his father Nevuchadnezzar. The king and his men drank from them and praised the gods of gold and silver.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/kidz/tales-of-the-gaonim/rav-akiva-eiger/2011/11/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: