1)R. AKIVA'S RISE TO GREATNESS AND WEALTH
(a)R. Akiva was Mekadesh (Rachel,) the daughter of Kalba Savu'a. When Kalba Savu'a found out, he vowed that his daughter may not benefit from his property.
1.They got married in winter. They slept where the straw was kept. He would pick the straw from her hair.
2.R. Akiva: If I would have the means, I would make for you a gold ornament with a picture of Yerushalayim.
(b)Eliyahu appeared to them like a man begging for some straw for his wife, who had just given birth.
1.R. Akiva: We are more fortunate than he is. He lacks even straw!
2.Rachel: Go learn by a Rebbi.
(c)R. Akiva learned for 12 years from R. Eliezer and R. Yehoshua; he returned home. From outside the house, he heard a Rasha taunt his wife:
1.Your father was right to forbid his property to you! Your husband is not from an important family, like yours. Also, he has abandoned you. You are like a widow in his lifetime!'
2.Rachel: If he would heed me, he would remain another 12 years!
3.R. Akiva (to himself): Since she permits me, I will learn more!
(d)R. Akiva learned for another 12 years. He returned with 24,000 Talmidim. Everyone came to greet him, including Rachel.
1.The Rasha: How dare you go to greet him, without nice clothing?!
2.Rachel: "A Tzadik knows the soul of his animal." (He knows how I toiled for him, and that I don't have better clothing.)
(e)She came to see him; the Talmidim didn't let her.
1.R. Akiva: Allow her! My learning and yours belongs (is due) to her.
(f)Kalba Savu'a asked him to permit his vow. R. Akiva did so.
(g)R. Akiva became wealthy from six sources.
1.From Kalba Savu'a.
2.From a wooden image of a ram (filled with coins) that is placed on ships.
i.Once, the crew forgot it on the shore, and R. Akiva found it.
3.From the treasure chest of a ship.
i.R. Akiva once gave four Zuz to sailors and asked them to buy something for him. All they found was a chest on the shore; they brought it to him. They said 'wait until we get more for you.'
ii.R. Akiva found that it was full of money. Once, a ship sank, and all the money aboard was in the chest.
4.From a wealthy woman.
i.(R. Akiva once borrowed money from her. She said that Hash-m and the sea should be guarantors. He was unable to repay on time. She asked Hash-m to pay; He caused her to receive even more money via the sea. She gave the excess to R. Akiva.)
5.Turnusrufus' wife (she later converted and married R. Akiva, and gave him great wealth).
6.Ketia bar Shalom (he gave half his wealth to R Akiva).
(h)Rav Gamda gave four Zuz to sailors and asked them to buy something for him. They didn't find anything; they bought a monkey for him. The monkey fled and entered a hole; they found it sitting on jewels. The sailors generously gave them all to Rav Gamda.
2)TORAH AND BEAUTY
(a)Keisar's daughter asked R. Yehoshua: Why is such glorious Torah in such an ugly Kli (yourself)?
(b)R. Yehoshua: Learn from your father's house. What do they put their wine in?
(c)Keisar's daughter: They put it in earthenware vessels.
(d)R. Yehoshua: Everyone does so! You should put your wine in silver and gold Kelim!
1.She did so; the wine spoiled.
(e)R. Yehoshua: Also Torah (spoils if it is in beautiful Kelim).
(f)Keisar's daughter: But there are beautiful Chachamim!
(g)R. Yehoshua: If they would be ugly, they would learn more.
(h)A woman came before Rav Yehudah for judgment. The outcome was against her.
1.The woman: Would your Rebbi, Shmuel, have judged thusly?
2.Rav Yehudah: Did you know him?
3.The woman: Yes. He was short, had a large stomach, was dark (freckled), and had big teeth.
4.Rav Yehudah: Did you come to disgrace him?! You are excommunicated!
(a)(Mishnah): (One who vowed not to eat cooked dishes) may eat a Tormita egg.
(b)Question: What is this?
(c)Answer (Shmuel): One puts an egg 1000 times in hot water, and 1000 times in cold water, until it is small enough to be swallowed whole.
1.If a sick person eats it, the sickness will cling to the egg. When the egg leaves his system, a doctor can look at it and will know how to cure him.
2.A slave who knows how to make this egg is worth 1000 Dinars!
(d)Shmuel tested himself so much in this fashion that he grew weak. His family pulled out their hair from grief.
(e)(Mishnah): (A worker may eat from the species he works with.) One working with Klufsin may not eat Benos Shu'ach (these are different species of figs), or vice-versa.
1.Klufsin is the species from which we make Lifdi (a fig dish).
(f)Reuven hired Shimon to teach Reuven's slave 1000 types of Lifdi. He taught him only 800. Reuven summoned Shimon for judgment in front of Rebbi.
1.Rebbi: Our fathers said "We have forgotten goodness." We have not even seen goodness (we do not know 1000 types).
(a)Rebbi was marrying off his son R. Shimon. (The text of Ein Yakov - Bar Kapara wrote a sign saying that) Rebbi spent 240 million Dinars for the Nisu'in, and did not invite Bar Kapara (lest Bar Kapara make him laugh).
1.Bar Kapara (to Rebbi): If Hash-m gives such wealth to those who transgress His will (you), how much more will He give to those who do His will!
2.Rebbi invited him.
3.Bar Kapara: If Hash-m gives in this world so much to those who do His will (you), how much more will He give in the world to come!
(b)(Rebbi's afflictions used to atone for the world.) Any day that Rebbi would laugh, punishments would come to the world.
1.Rebbi (to Bar Kapara): Do not make me laugh, and I will give you 40 measures of wheat.
2.Bar Kapara: Watch. I will get as much as I want.