[Avodah] Rashbi

Eli Turkel eliturkel at gmail.com
Fri May 11 02:25:19 PDT 2018

Instead of answering Zev's questions directly let me try and describe how I
see the events.
I fully admit that the sources of dates for Taananim seem very sparse and I
welcome any more information

>From the chabad site
R Yochanan be Zakai dies in 74
The Sanhedrin under Rabban Gamliel moved about 86
Bat Kochba Rebbelion ended in 133
R Akiva put in prison 134
Mishna completed 189


First most historians take the story that R Akiva (along with several
others) lived for 120 years
as an exaggeration. Typical dates given are 50-135.
This also implies that magic split into 3 sections of 40 years each is also
an exaggeration
This would give his learning under Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Yehoshua as
after the death of R Yochanan ben zakai about the year 75 when he would be
25 years old

I again stress that all dates are speculation.

It seems unlikely that R Akiva would have 24000 students when so many older
teachers were around. Hence, extremely unlikely that this happened while
the yeshiva was in Yavne under Rabban Gamliel.

The one date I saw for the death of Rashbi was 150.
What seems to be clear is that Rebbe compiled the Mishna after the death of
all 5  talmidim of R Akiva (of course we know that the compilation was done
over a period of time beginning at least with R. Meir and probably R. Akiva
and earlier).
Pushing off the death of R. Akiva decades later would give little time for
the activities of his talmildim after his death before the time of Rebbe
who is the next generation.

One date I have seen for Rebbe is 135-220 (again approximately)
R Sherira Gaon lists the year 219 as the year Rav moved to Bavel

The gemara (Kiddushin 72b) states that Rebbe was born when R Akiva died
which gives
the birth of Rebba as about 135 assuming he died as part of the Bar Kochba
revolt (which the Chabad site seems to also assume)
As an aside the dates of Rebbe would seem to be connected with the debate
over who was Antoninus
see Hebrew Wikipedia on Reeb Yehuda HaNasi

This post started with my claim that Rashbi was a student in Yavneh years
before the plague that kille3d the 24000 students and so he became a
student of R Akiva later in life. I note that the other talmidim also had
other teachers. Thus, the gemara notes that R Meir also learned with R.
Yishmael and certainly with R. Elisha ben Avuyah though R. Akivah was his
main teacher
'The students were given semicha by R Yehudah be Buba

R Benny Lau claims that R. Yehuda bar Ilai was mainly a talmid of his
father and R Tarfon and only secondary by R. Akiva. R Yisi ben Chalfta also
learned mainly from his father and then R. Yochanan ben Nuri both of whom
stressed the traditions if the Galil. We have no statements of R. Elazar
ben Shanua in the name of R. Akiva.
R Benny Lau concludes that the two "talmidim muvhakim" of R. Akiva are R.
Meir and Rashbi but both of these also had other teachers besides R. Akiva.
Hence, we cannot take the story literally that R. Akiva went to the south
and found 5 youngsters who became his students. Rather all 5 were already
serious talmidei chachamim before R. Akiva.
In addition even later many kept up relations with R. Yishmael

Eli Turkel
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