Monday, November 10, 2008

Akiva ben Yosef (Kiddushin 27)

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It happened once that Rabban Gamliel and some elders were traveling on a ship. Rabban Gamliel said to them: The tithe (ma’aser rishon) which I shall measure off when I come home is given to Yehoshua (ben Chananyah, who was a Levi) and the place where it lies is leased to him. [Rabbi Yehoshua gave him a perutah for the rental and acquired the ma’aser together with the land with kinyan agav.] And the other tithe (ma’aser ani) which I shall measure off is given to Akiva ben Yosef that he may acquire possession of it for the poor, and the place where it lies is leased to him.

The commentators ask: Why by Rabbi Akiva, does the Gemora mention his father’s name, Yosef, and By Rabbi Yehoshua, it does not?

Reb Tzadok HaKohen (Peri Tzadik; Ki Seitzei) answers that this is to hint to us that the root of Rabbi Akiva was from Yosef HaTzadik. Just as Yosef was the provider of the food in Egypt, so too, Rabbi Akiva was the treasurer and the one responsible to sustain the poor people.