web analytics
September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



For These We Cry: Rabi Akiva ben Yosef

Astaire-082914

It was also Rabi Akiva who comforted the people when the Kohen Gadol could no longer perform the Yom Kippur Avodah in the Beit HaMikdash. As it says in Yoma 85b, “Rabi Akiva said, ‘Fortunate are you, O Israel! Who purifies you, and before Whom are you purified? Before your Father in Heaven… Hashem is the mikveh of Israel.’ Just as a mikveh purifies the defiled, so too Hashem purifies Israel.”

Rabi Akiva was already an elderly man when the Roman Emperor Hadrian began to institute many cruel decrees, including the leveling of Jerusalem to build a pagan city on its ruins and the outlawing of many mitzvos, including brit milah and the teaching of Torah. While many of the leaders of the time were against an open revolt, Rabi Akiva supported Shimon Bar Kosiba, whom he renamed Bar Kochba and declared to be Mashiach. But the Roman army all too quickly reversed Bar Kochba’s early military successes and the tragedies began to multiply. The revolt ended with the fall of Beitar and the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Jews.

Rabi Akiva had become disillusioned with Bar Kochba even before his defeat in battle, since the warrior had become arrogant, ascribing victory to his own might, rather than to the will of Hashem. And even though Rabi Akiva had witnessed the death by plague of the 24,000 talmidim he had taught in his younger years, still he did not despair. Rabi Akiva began anew and taught five talmidim who would become the leaders of the next generation: Rabi Meir, Rabi Yehudah, Rabi Yose, Rabi Shimon bar Yochai and Rabi Elazar ben Shamua (Yevamot 62b).

Teaching Torah was, of course, against the law, and the Romans arrested Rabi Akiva. The hour of his death is described in Berachot 61b, which relates that his students saw him reciting Shema with joy, while his executioners lacerated his flesh with iron combs. When theyasked if a person was obligated to recite Shema even under such dire circumstances, Rabi Akiva explained, “All my life I wondered whether I would ever fulfill the verse ‘with all my soul,’ meaning ‘even if He takes my soul.’ Now that the opportunity has arrived, should I not seize it?”

His last word was echad (one). A heavenly voice announced: “Blessed are you, Rabi Akiva, that your life expired with echad.”

Next Week: For These We CryRabi Chananya ben Teradyon

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 “For These We Cry: Rabi Akiva ben Yosef”

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Jihad boy, age 13, poses with assault rifle in ISIS propaganda photo.
ISIS Shows Off 13-year-old Belgian Boy Jihadist
Latest Sections Stories

Three sets of three-day Yomim Tovim can seem overwhelming – especially when we are trying to stay healthy.

Plotkin-092614

Is a missed opportunity to do a mitzvah considered a sin?

Teens-Twenties-logo

The sounds and scents of the kitchen are cozy, familiar, but loud in the silence.

Baim-092614-Plate

Everyone has a weakness. For some people it is the inability to walk past a sales rack without dropping a few hundred dollars. For others, it’s the inability to keep their house organized.

His entire life was dedicated to Torah and he became a pivotal figure in the transmittal of the Oral Torah to the next generation.

When you don’t have anyone else to turn to… that’s when you’re tied to Hashem the closest.

While we all go to restaurants for a good meal, it is dessert, that final taste that lingers in your mouth, that is the crown jewel of any dining experience and Six Thirteen’s offerings did not disappoint.

Today, fifty years and six million (!) people later, Israel is truly a different world.

There will always be items that don’t freeze well – salads and some rice- or potato-based dishes – so you need to leave time to prepare or cook them closer to Yom Tov and ensure there is enough room in the refrigerator to store them.

In Uzbekistan, in the early twentieth century, it was the women who wore the pants.

This is an important one in raising a mentsch (and maybe even in marrying off a mentsch! listening skills are on the top of the list when I do shidduch coaching).

While multitasking is not ideal, it is often necessary and unavoidable.

More Articles from Libi Astaire
Astaire-092614-Sunrise

His entire life was dedicated to Torah and he became a pivotal figure in the transmittal of the Oral Torah to the next generation.

Astaire-091214

The interpreter was expected to be a talmid chacham himself and be able to also offer explanations and clarifications to the students.

“Rabi, if I make the flames hotter and remove the wool sponges from your heart, will you bring me to the World to Come?”

In addition to his great erudition, Rabi Akiva was known for his optimism.

This went on until she had immersed eighty times, and then Hashem at last took pity upon her.

Woe to us that we have to be put to death like common heathen and murderers!

Even though the Roman victory signaled the end of Jewish sovereignty, it did not mean the end of Torah Judaism.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/features/feautures-on-jewish-world/for-these-we-cry-rabi-akiva-ben-yosef/2014/08/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: