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Follow Our Leaders: Rabi Akiva

Rabbi Nachman and Miriam Zakon

Who lived through magnificent times, but also times of destruction, and a Jewish revolution against the mighty Roman Empire? Don’t know? Listen to Zeidy Zakon tell you about Rabi Akiva

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

zeidy zakonThe Shepherd and the Rich Man

When Rabi Akiva was young, the second Beis HaMikdash still stood. He saw hundreds of thousands of Jews celebrating the Yamim Tovim — eating the Korban Pesach, dancing at the Simchas Beis HaShoevah on Succos, seeing the Kohein Gadol come out of the Kodesh HaKadoshim on Yom Kippur.

Rabi Akiva came from a family of converts and until he was 40 he was a shepherd and ignorant of Torah. He could not even read Hebrew!

Akiva’s life changed when Rachel, the daughter of one of the richest Jews at the time, Ben Kalba Savuah, saw Akiva’s great potential. She knew that if given the chance, he would become someone special. She married him on condition he would learn Torah. Her father was angry at her for marrying someone so ignorant, and he made a “neder,” a promise that he wouldn’t give them a penny.


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