Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Rabbi Akiva and Ben Kalba Savua


"R’ Akiva was a shepherd for Ben Kalba Savua. His daughter saw that R’ Akiva was tzanua and good, and she asked him, 'If would accept kiddushin from you, would you go to yeshiva?' He replied, 'Yes.'

"They eloped secretly, and she sent him to yeshiva. Her father heard, evicted her from his home and vowed that she could not benefit from his property.

"R’ Akiva went and sat in yeshiva for twelve years. When he returned, he brought with him twelve thousand students. He heard an elderly man say to her, 'How long will you remain in living widowhood?' To which she replied, 'If he would listen to me, he would stay another twelve years!'

"R’ Akiva said, 'I am doing this with permission!' He returned and sat in yeshiva for another twelve years.

"When he returned, he brought 24,000 students with him. His wife heard and went out to greet him... When she reached him, she fell on her face and kissed his foot. His attendants pushed her away, but he said, 'Leave her be; mine and yours are hers.'

"Her father heard that a great man had come to the city, and he said, 'I will go to him, and perhaps he will nullify my vow.' He came to R' Akiva. R' Akiva asked him, 'Did you intend this vow even if he would become a great man?' To which he replied, 'Even if he would learn one chapter, or one halachah!'

"R' Akiva said, 'I am he.' Ben Kalba Savua fell on his face and kissed his foot and gave him half of his assets."

(Talmud, Ketuvot 62b-63a)

Have a great day,

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