[Avodah] Rabbi Akiva's Students' Deaths as Soldiers in Bar Kochba's Army? A thorough critique of the theory

Micha Berger micha at aishdas.org
Mon May 13 14:27:56 PDT 2024

On Sun, May 12, 2024 at 06:31:24PM -0400, Zvi Lampel via Avodah wrote:
> https://asif.co.il/wpfb-file/6_2-pdf/

> by R. Shmuel Yismach, Igud Yeshivot HaHesder
> <https://asif.co.il/files_author/%d7%94%d7%a8%d7%91-%d7%a9%d7%9e%d7%95%d7%90%d7%9c-%d7%99%d7%a9%d7%9e%d7%97/>

The idea that the Y-mi's "iskarah" wasn't a lung disease (askara) but the
type of low-ranking Roman soldier who carried a dagger (sicarii) also fits
Igeres R Sherira Gaon referring to their deaths as a "shamda". Persecution
is a term we would use for something caused by people, not disease.

But RSY in this article cites RSG then uses R Hai Gaon, RSG's son, as
proof that they died of disease -- by presuming the first definition of
"iskarah" when RHG uses the word. Whereas the whole argument is based
on assuming the two Greek words having the same transliteration.

In any case, you can see why the idea that Rabbi Aqiva ran a chain of
yeshivos (you can't get 48,000 into one beis medrash) whose talmidim
fought for Bar Kokhva would be a hot topic in Igud Yeshivot haHesder.
Debunking the the possible precedent wouldn't make RSY popular.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 Today is the 20th day, which is
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   2 weeks and 6 days in/toward the omer.
Author: Widen Your Tent      Yesod sheb'Tifferes: What role does harmony
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