What does R. Akiva Eiger hold about long distance involvement in another person's simcha?

I have heard that contrary to legend he actually held that such participation is meaningless and that the actual source is the behavior of his uncle. The version involving his uncle is cited here.

What did he actually say?

  • "long distance involvement in another person's simcha" What does that mean?
    – Double AA
    Feb 9, 2015 at 3:45
  • @DoubleAA celebrating simultaneously.
    – mevaqesh
    Feb 9, 2015 at 3:46
  • What Halachic ramifications are you interested in?
    – Double AA
    Feb 9, 2015 at 3:47
  • @DoubleAA any halachic ramification of a seudas mitzva, perhaps meat during 9 days for would be an example.
    – mevaqesh
    Feb 9, 2015 at 3:48
  • 2
    People call it a Seudas R' Akiva Eiger because we know one was held for him. Kind of like how Rashi's father was the first to learn Chumash with Rashi.
    – Shalom
    Feb 10, 2015 at 20:46

1 Answer 1


Well I found the probable source in R. Akiva Eiger's responsa (vol. 1 ch. 29) where his uncle R. Binyomin Wolf Eiger make a feast in honor of R. Akiva Eiger's wedding. R. Akiva Eiger responds (ibid ch. 30)

תודות אלף אל אדוני על הדבר אשר עשה לשמוח ביום שמחתי בפומני והוא אות נאמן על עזוז אהבהו, אם כי לא ידעתי על מה, ותשואות חן לכם...וכו

A thousand thanks to my master regarding what he did, to rejoice on the day of my wedding, which is a sure sign to the strendth of his love, though I don't know why [he celebrated like this]...etc.

Thus he certainly didn't advocate the celebration, and his response indicates that he thought it was a strange practice, (assuming this is his intent in saying that he doesn't understand what they were celebrating). There is some possibility however that he merely humbly writes that he doesn't understand why his wedding is reason for such celebration.

  • To be fair to people who can't read Hebrew, I added a translation. Please check that I translated it adequately; I don't want to misrepresent your source.
    – MTL
    Feb 10, 2015 at 19:54
  • I read that as referring to not knowing why his love was so "vigorous." Which I guess is the same as your "some possibility." I had actually thought that was the simplest reading. Feb 10, 2015 at 20:02
  • 4
    @YeZ agree. It's a sign of humility, "I don't know why you had to make such a celebration over little-old me..."
    – Shalom
    Feb 10, 2015 at 20:24
  • 1
    Absolutely Rav Akiva Eiger is saying he does not warrant an overt celebration. He was the paradigm of humility. That someone would bother is beyopnd hoim. He would not criticize his uncle by saying I don't know what the source for your strange actions is........ no Way!! BMR
    – user9591
    Jun 11, 2015 at 3:35

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