Rabbi Akiva, the tanna who has the famous quote " this is the greatest rule, love your fellow like you love yourself". If that is what he stands for how could it be that his students disregarded that rule. Rabbi Akiva one of the greatest tannaim who work for these 24,000 student as stated in Kesubos, how is that a way to respond and act in front of someone who is great like Rabbi Akiva


1 Answer 1


I once heard Rabbi Dovid Orlofsky explain this that it doesn't mean they didn't honor each other at all; it means they didn't show enough respect to the other person's learning. They didn't appreciate the value of another person's perspective, a different cheilek in learning.

This is also borne out by the fact that the gemara doesn't say 24000 talmidim; it mentions 12000 zugos/chavrusos, pairs.

When people learn together in pairs, each person helps the other person grow. Together you sharpen each others points, asking questions and trying to clarify the truth.

When they didn't respect each other's opinion, it means they didn't care about the other perspective enough to clarify it and "work it through."

This fits in with Rav Aharon Kotler's point (brought in Mishnas Rav Aharon) why they died davka now. This time period leads up to, and is preparation for, Kabolas Hatorah. Since Derech Eretz Kadma LaTorah- good midos and 'menschlichkeit' area prerequisite for obtaining torah- any blemish in the Derech eretz affects the kabolas Hatorah as well.

These two points go very well together. The blemish of "not showing each other honor" was a fault in their ability to respect each other's torah perspective, and to work on achieving the truth. Such a lack of respect- on their level- means they couldn't be the ones to receive the Torah and be part of the mesoras Hatorah.

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