I'm attending a bar mitzva celebration recently, and the father of the boy gives a short speech. During his speech he mentions in passing that Rabbi Akiva Eiger (1761–1837, modern-day Austria and Poland), when asked how he had achieved his own greatness, replied that had striven to emulate the Rashba (1235–1310, modern-day Spain). I see the same story, with no further detail, at
Was there something specific about the Rashba that he strove to emulate, or just his generally being a tzadik (good person)? If the latter, why did he strive to emulate the Rashba specifically? There had been many great rabbis over the years. And if the former, what was it about the Rashba that he strove to emulate, and why did he choose that trait specifically to strive to emulate?