The Gemara in Nedarim (50a) lists six sources of wealth from which Rabbi Akiva became exceedingly wealthy, including half of Ben Kalba Savua's money (Kesuvos, 63a). Rashi on Bechoros (58a) maintains that Rabbi Yehoshua ben Karcha was Rabbi Akiva's son (though Rabbeinu Tam and the Ran disagree). The Gemara in Shabbos (152a) relates that Rabbi Yehoshua ben Karcha was walking without shoes (and one can infer from the context that he had no shoes). The Gemara in Shabbos (129a) states that a person should even sell beams from his house to purchase shoes to wear: אמר רב יהודה אמר רב לעולם ימכור אדם קורות ביתו ויקח מנעלים לרגליו . It would seem that Rabbi Yehoshua ben Karcha was quite poor.
If Rabbi Yehoshua ben Karcha was Rabbi Akiva's son, what happened to Rabbi Akiva's wealth?
- Could it be that the Roman authorities confiscated Rabbi Akiva's estate when they executed him (B'rachos, 61b), leaving his son with no wealth?
- The estate of Nakdimon ben Gurion, who was one of the wealthiest men of Jerusalem (Gittin, 56a; Ta'anis 19b), fell to ruin and his daughter became impoverished (Kesuvos, 66b), either because he sometimes gave charity with extravagant flair for his own honor or that his great wealth obligated him to give even more charity than he did (ibid, 67a). Rabbi Akiva's humility and his tremendous efforts for charity seem to discount the possibility that he lost his fortune for any such reason. However:
- There is a concept that a person should not give a massive, unsustainable portion of one's wealth to charity and thereby bankrupt oneself. Did Rabbi Akiva do this? Could the needs of the time have been so imperative that this guideline was suspended?
- Might Rabbi Yehoshua ben Karcha merely have refused to accept any money from Rabbi Akiva?
Sources would be appreciated.
Edit: It's likely that no sources explicitly address this question. Unsourced suggestions are fine as answers, too, but please justify them if possible. For example, if you suggest that R' Akiva's money was confiscated by the Romans, you might support this with a Jewish or historical source that the Romans of that era would sometimes/typically confiscate the estates of people they would execute.