Sharing Thanks for your site. Nothing is just a fact to pass down. “The Jewishness of Jesus,” American Judaism 10:1 (1960), 36. The tension between the sovereignty of God and human freedom is still highly debated today. Where did he agree and differ with the theology of other rabbis? You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6:24). Its opening book is the agricultural treatise Zeraim. When Peter replied, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29), the council was ready to sentence them to death. Read more. The New Testament tells us: “When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’” (John 6:25). So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. RABBI AKIVA PART 1: In this first class in the series we will look at the life and teachings of Rabbi Akiva. In the first century, only teachers among the Pharisaical sect were called rabbi (though rabbinical ordination as we know it did not begin until later). Yeshua challenged this attitude. The Pharisees did not try to solve the problem of the seemingly mutually exclusive free will of man versus God’s pre-ordained decrees. Reply. Report abuse. “This one (and no other) is the Messiah.” In other words, Akiva’s statement may have been less about proclaiming Bar Kochba as Messiah, than denying that anyone else was. We ask hard questions about faith and the issues facing our Jewish people today. HavenToday Recommended for … 4. They had this conversation: And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” (Mark 10:51). They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. His compassion gave rise to this accusatory question by some of the religious leaders: “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” (Luke 5:30). Akiva’s emphasis of the Shema as the fundamental Jewish text comes across strongly in the Mishna’s commentary on it (attributed in the Tosefta to Akiva’s student Rabbi Meir, and in Berakhot 61b to Akiva himself). Jesus’ Right to Do the Things He Did. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? "—Burton L. Visotzky, The Forward "Holtz expertly teases Akiva’s core character traits from a plethora of midrashic sources to fashion a complex, yet likeable, religious leader who is at once pragmatist and dreamer, punctilious intellectual and passionate lover. "—Rabbi Dr Harvey Belovski, Jewish Chronicle And being for mine own self what am I?” (Avot 1:14). Topic. mark k. 5.0 out of 5 stars Rabbi akiva the rabbi for all time. I said to myself: When will the opportunity be afforded me to fulfill this verse? He wants to know the source of this story. The Pseudepigrapha, Vol 2., R H. Charles, ed. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. The Sanhedrin took Gamaliel’s advice and let them go. Akiva remained in Lod [8] as long as Eliezer dwelt there, and then removed his own school to Beneberak , five Roman miles from Jaffa [9] [10] Akiva also lived for some time at Ziphron, [11] modern Zafran [12] near Hama , Syria . They had to elevate it, to ensure that it was seen as an exclusively Jewish text, to demonstrate that what it affirmed lay at the heart of Judaism alone, not at the heart of any other religion. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. He believed that Bar Kokhba was the Moshiach (messiah), though some other rabbis openly ridiculed him for that belief (the Talmud records another rabbi as saying, "Akiva, grass will grow in your cheeks and still the son of David will not have come.") 21:36. He said that true spirituality is found in serving others. He would teach, he would listen, and he would ask the same question he asked his disciples: “Who do you say that I am?”. The Talmud is full of conversations between rabbis much like those Yeshua is recorded as having had with them in the New Testament. Akiva developed as a sage during the period after the destruction of the Second Temple (70 CE), a time of transformation for the Jewish community as Rabbinic Judaism began to take shape. The Pharisees said it could be. Not all Pharisaical teaching was burdensome, and within his own lifestyle, Yeshua participated in some extra-biblical traditions. And a little over a century later, the church father Justin, in his dialogue with the fictional Jew Trypho, appropriates Jesus’s reply to claim the supremacy of Christianity over Judaism: And hence I think that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ spoke well when He summed up all righteousness and piety in two commandments. On this point, the Pharisees were middle-of-the-road. 13. Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. They do all their deeds to be seen by others.” (Matthew 23:1–5). 04 Dec. So Rabbi Akiva did to R. Eliezer and R. Yehoshua. You might even be found opposing God! But he was included as a relevant voice worthy of their engagement. People similar to or like Rabbi Akiva. Written on them were the Ten Commandments and the Shema. Since the Temple no longer served as the focal point of Jewish life, the Sages (who later became known as rabbis) reconstructed Judaism with Torah study at its center. The story has been told that late one afternoon, as the sun was beginning to set in the west, Rabbi Akiva was walking along the northern shore … And they were raking his flesh with iron combs, and he was reciting Shema, thereby accepting upon himself the yoke of Heaven. Hillel, who presided over the Sanhedrin from 30 B.C. So, since they could not abolish the Shema, they had to do something else with it. The Sanhedrin, the high court of the Jews had sent an envoy to ask Jesus about his claim of authority (Luke 20:1-2). Rabbi Akiva's Letters (Hebrew) Version 1 - Duration: 21:36. EU residents: Sorry but we can't take your info on this site. The New Testament records several other instances in which Jesus’ disciples called him rabbi, as in this passage: “Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat” (John 4:31). Yes, Jesus – Yeshua – was a rabbi, a teacher of Judaism in the first century A.D. This is where Rabbi Akiva comes in. The am ha-ares (literally, “the people of the land” or common people) and the Pharisees were at odds. And the Mishnah makes no bones about the pre-eminence of the Shema. But in declaring that the Pharisees “do all their deeds to be seen by others,” Jesus was saying that rather than observing the Torah and traditions to serve God, they were doing so to serve themselves and their egos. There is no indication when this happened, but the Talmudic citations are in the name of 3rd century Amoraim. Akiva may not have seen the passage from the dialogue with Trypho but he would certainly have been familiar with the sentiment. He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered. . But it is in his treatment of the Shema that we can see Akiva’s response to Christianity most clearly. Instead, they put them side by side as factors to be considered in many of life’s situations. Rabbi Jacob stated: “This world is like a vestibule before the world to come: prepare thyself in the vestibule that thou mayest enter into the banquet hall” (Avot 4:16).7. That’s when Roman soldiers plus famine killed 1 million Jews. The opening sentence in Berakhot asks “from when do we read the Shema in the evening.” The first sentence in the great Akivan compilation of Jewish law is not about Shabbat, or Kashrut, or anything to do with the Temple. Unlike the Ten Commandments however, the rabbis could not abolish the daily recitation of the Shema. If she does not go as you direct, separate her from yourself.”12. Rabbi Akiva, one of the most important religious leaders of the second century A.D., said, “All is foreseen but freedom of choice is given”5 (Avot 3:16). Alternatively, “With all that you have” – with every measure that is measured for you. Both the Babylonian and Yerushalmi Talmuds tell us that the reading of the ten commandments was dropped because of the ‘claims’ (טענות  in Y. Berachot 3c) or ‘rebellion’ (תרעומת in B. Berachot 12a) of the minim. Rabbi Akiva is similar to these people: Jesus, Rachel, wife of Rabbi Akiva, Lilith and more. The Sadducees accused the Pharisees of inventing this doctrine, claiming it could not be proven from Torah. Indeed, the Ten Commandments is never recited as part of our regular liturgy; those prayer books which do include it, do so as a sort of appendix to the morning service. Thank you. Rabbi Akiva lived during the second half of the first century and the first half of the second century. Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” (John 3:1–4). And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? If Pappos Ben Yehudah was a contemporary of Rabbi Akiva's, he must have been born well after Jesus' death and certainly could not be his father. After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. Israel’s Outside Literature, known today as the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, also took this position: “For man . A voice descended from heaven and said: Happy are you, Rabbi Akiva, that your soul left your body as you uttered: One. Rabbi Akiva was active in the Bar Kokhba rebellion against Rome, 132-135 C.E.. Although there is no Talmudic consensus on which parts of the Torah were given on Sinai, and which, if any, during the forty years in the wilderness, the idea that the Ten Commandments were somehow superior to the rest of the Torah was unpalatable. Regarding the essential teachings of the Torah, the Pharisees and Jesus were on the same page. The men had power to arrest Jesus on the spot, so Jesus’ personal freedom was at stake and depended upon how he answered their question. The Gospel of Luke, in particular, shows his high regard for women in that he spent significant time in their company. .” at j4j.co/issuesv6n3pharisees. Rabbi Akiva's unique ability to penetrate reality's depth and reveal its divine roots in the tiny thorns decorating the Torah scroll's letters astonishes Moses. On this point, the Pharisees were middle-of-the-road. “There is only One who is good. Rabbi Akiva, one of the most important religious leaders of the second century A.D., said, “All is foreseen but freedom of choice is given”5 (Avot 3:16). That the death of Rabbi Akiva is discussed in masechet Menachot highlights the beautifully discursive, yet precisely edited, nature of the Talmud. The Mishnah, H. Danby, ed., (London: Oxford, 1933), 452. Rabbi Akiva was the greatest of the Talmudic sages and the leading voice of resistance to Roman rule in Judea. Sign up for our monthly updates and special announcements. Jesus replies by quoting the Shema (Mark 12, 28-30). To the large assembly gathered on the occasion, he said: Brethren of the house of Israel, listen to me. Akiva’s pioneering of the phrase “beloved is suffering” (חביבין יסורין- Sanhedrin 101a), later taken up by Rabbi Yohanan, could well have been an effort to reclaim a theology that he saw as exclusively Jewish. We can read his famous statement about Bar Kochba “this one is the King Messiah (Y. Taanit 4,5)” with the emphasis on “this one (דין הוא)”. 6:5) “With all your heart” – with your two inclinations, with the inclination of good and the inclination of evil. But of course the most powerful evidence for Akiva’s advocacy of the Shema comes from the story that is told of his death at the hands of the Romans. . If you think modern Judaism is complicated, during the Second Temple period Judaism took on a variety of forms, many of which are not comparable to today’s expressions, culturally or otherwise. 2. Although generally depicted as extremists who insisted on dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s of Judaism, many were the moderates of their day, attempting to create a middle path that all of Israel could follow. Yeshua held a far different position. Here’s what he said: Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. After this two Rabbi’s walked together through villages and town and together they opened academies doors. No one dispensed more charity than he. You can read his article on this topic, “The Pharisees: Bad Guys or . Hillel summed up this balance between regard for self and the regard for others: “If I am not for myself, who is for me? When Jerusalem was destroyed in A.D. 70, some leading Pharisees approached their conquerors and asked to be allowed to live in the north of Israel. In order to understand the New Testament, it is vital for us to understand the cultural and religious background of Jesus and His disciples. 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