Wednesday, July 04, 2007

DISTANT CELEBRATION OF REB AKIVA EIGER’S WEDDING - Yevamos 63 - Daf Yomi

Reb Wolf Eiger, the uncle of Reb Akiva Eiger was unable to attend his nephew's wedding. He made a simultaneous banquet of his own to celebrate the occasion. Reb Shaya Pik and other Rabbanim attended the festivities. He wrote to his nephew about the halachic issues (if one can fulfill the mitzvah of counting the omer by way of writing) which were discussed at the banquet.

What was the point of such a celebration? They weren’t dancing before the groom or the bride; they weren’t praising the groom in front of the bride. What caused these Rabbonim to celebrate in such a manner?

In the West (Eretz Yisroel) they would say: (A man who does not have a wife lives) without Torah.

Why is not having a wife like living without Torah; if anything, there exists more time for Torah study, not less?

The Gemora states: It was taught in a braisa: Rabbi Eliezer said: Whoever does not occupy himself with the mitzvah of procreation is considered like a murderer.

Rabbi Yaakov said: It is as if he diminished the Divine Image.

Ben Azzai said: It is considered like a murderer and as if he diminished the Divine Image.

They asked Ben Azzai: “there are those that teach well, and perform well; there are others who perform well, but do not teach well. You, however, teach well, but do not perform well (for Ben Azzai died as a bachelor and childless).” Ben Azzai replied to them: “What should I do? My soul desires the Torah. The world can survive through other people.”

The Gemora in Bava Basra (158a) refers to Ben Azzai as the “Talmid chaver” of Rabbi Akiva. Ben Azzai was considered somewhat of a disciple of Rabbi Akiva.

Rabbeinu Gershom comments: Since Ben Azzai was a “bochur,” he was unable to comprehend halachic logic as well as Rabbi Akiva.

What is the connection between being a “bochur,” and not comprehending to the fullest extent?

I once heard from my Rosh Yeshiva, HaRav Chaim Schmelczer zt”l that Rabbeinu Gershom means that Ben Azzai was a bachelor, and one who is not married does not have the same level of contentment as one who is married. Torah study requires one to be at ease; one must have a menuchas hanefesh in order to comprehend the depths of the Torah. This is what Ben Azzai was lacking.

This is the explanation of our Gemora. One who is not married is akin to living without Torah. He may have more time for Torah study, but he is lacking the inner contentment which is a prerequisite for Torah.

Perhaps this can explain what caused Reb Wolf Eiger to celebrate the wedding of his nephew Reb Akiva Eiger even though the bride and the groom were not present; in fact, they were miles away. Reb Wolf understood that the marriage of Reb Akiva Eiger will result in his becoming the Reb Akiva Eiger that we know now. The wedding was not only a private joy for the families of the bride and groom, but rather, it was a simchas hatorah; a celebration in the honor of Torah. Reb Akiva Eiger’s Torah would spread throughout the world. This could be celebrated anywhere, even without the choson and kallah.

5 comments:

REJ said...

Can you make such a wedding during the three weeks?

Dikduk said...

Could this be why the only two places that sasson precedes simcha is by sheva brochos and simchas torah?

ben said...

In the West (Eretz Yisroel) they would say: (A man who does not have a wife lives) without Torah.

Why is not having a wife like living without Torah; if anything, there exists more time for Torah study, not less?

Rashi writes s.v. haim that without a wife he has to be engaged in household matters and his Torah will be forgotten. Why doesn't Rashi say that he won't have time to learn? Maybe he means he can't learn so he'll forget his Torah or it's an expression.

ben said...

was this Reb Akiva Eiger's first or second marriage?

Avromi said...

First