Nedarim 50aנדרים נ׳ א
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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50aנ׳ א

דלי ציפתא ואמר ליה לשלוחא חזי מאי איכא מיהו לא ניחא לי דאיתהני בהדין עלמא

He lifted the mat [tzifeta] upon which he was sitting and said to the messenger: See what there is here. The place was miraculously filled with gold dinars. This demonstrated that Rabbi Yehuda could have had plenty of money if he had so desired. He explained: However, it is not amenable to me to derive benefit in this world.

ר' עקיבא איתקדשת ליה ברתיה (דבר) דכלבא שבוע שמע (בר) כלבא שבוע אדרה הנאה מכל נכסיה אזלא ואיתנסיבה ליה

§ In connection to the above incident concerning the poverty of scholars and their potential to become wealthy through remarkable circumstances, the Gemara relates an incident: Rabbi Akiva became betrothed to the daughter of bar Kalba Savua. When bar Kalba Savua heard about their betrothal, he took a vow prohibiting her from eating all of his property. Despite this, she went ahead and married Rabbi Akiva.

בסיתוא הוה גנו בי תיבנא הוה קא מנקיט ליה תיבנא מן מזייה אמר לה אי הואי לי רמינא ליך ירושלים דדהבא אתא אליהו אידמי להון כאנשא וקא קרי אבבא אמר להו הבו לי פורתא דתיבנא דילדת אתתי ולית לי מידעם לאגונה אמר לה ר' עקיבא לאנתתיה חזי גברא דאפילו תיבנא לא אית ליה

In the winter they would sleep in a storehouse of straw, and Rabbi Akiva would gather strands of straw from her hair. He said to her: If I had the means I would place on your head a Jerusalem of Gold, a type of crown. Elijah the prophet came and appeared to them as a regular person and started calling and knocking on the door. He said to them: Give me a bit of straw, as my wife gave birth and I do not have anything on which to lay her. Rabbi Akiva said to his wife: See this man, who does not even have straw. We should be happy with our lot, as we at least have straw to sleep on.

אמרה ליה זיל הוי בי רב אזל תרתי סרי שנין קמי דר' אליעזר ור' יהושע למישלם תרתי סרי שנין קא אתא לביתיה שמע מן אחורי ביתיה דקאמר לה חד רשע לדביתהו שפיר עביד ליך אבוך חדא דלא דמי ליך ועוד [שבקך] ארמלות חיות כולהון שנין אמרה ליה אי צאית לדילי ליהוי תרתי סרי שנין אחרנייתא אמר הואיל ויהבת לי רשותא איהדר לאחורי הדר אזל הוה תרתי סרי שני אחרנייתא

She said to him: Go and be a student of Torah. He went and studied Torah for twelve years before Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Yehoshua. At the completion of the twelve years, he was coming home when he heard from behind his house that one wicked person was saying to his wife: Your father behaved well toward you. He was right to disinherit you. One reason is that your husband is not similar to you, i.e., he is not suitable for you. And furthermore, he has left you in widowhood in his lifetime all these years. She said to him: If he listens to me, he should be there for another twelve years. Rabbi Akiva said: Since she has given me permission through this statement, I will go back and study more. He turned back and went to the study hall, and he was there for another twelve years.

אתא בעשרין וארבעה אלפין זוגי תלמידי נפוק כולי עלמא לאפיה ואף היא קמת למיפק לאפיה אמר לה ההוא רשיעא ואת להיכא אמרה ליה (משלי יב, י) יודע צדיק נפש בהמתו אתת לאיתחזויי ליה קא מדחן לה רבנן אמר להון הניחו לה שלי ושלכם שלה הוא שמע (בר) כלבא שבוע אתא ואיתשיל על נידריה ואשתריי ואשתרי

Eventually he came back accompanied by 24,000 pairs of students. Everyone went out to greet him, as he was by then a renowned teacher, and she too arose to go out to greet him. That wicked person said to her: And to where are you going? As she was excessively poor, she was not dressed in a grand manner, as fit for the wife of one so esteemed. She said to him: “A righteous man regards the life of his beast” (Proverbs 12:10); he knows that I am in this state as a result of my dedication to him. She came to present herself before Rabbi Akiva, but the Sages tried to fend her off, as they were unaware of her identity. He said to them: Leave her. Both my Torah knowledge and yours are hers. When bar Kalba Savua heard that the famous man was his son-in-law, he came before halakhic authorities and requested the dissolution of his vow, and it was dissolved.

מן שית מילי איעתר רבי עקיבא מן כלבא שבוע מן אילא דספינתא דכל ספינתא עבדין ליה מין עינא זימנא חדא אנשיוה על כיף ימא אתא הוא אשכחיה

The Gemara adds: Rabbi Akiva became wealthy from six things. First, from the money he received from Kalba Savua after his vow was dissolved. Second, he gained money from the ram of a ship [eila disfineta], as craftsmen would fashion a sculpture of a type of sheep for every ship, which would be placed on its bow, and which would be used to conceal money. On one occasion, the sailors forgot this ram on the seashore, and Rabbi Akiva came and found it with the money stored inside.

ומן גווזא דזימנא חדא יהיב ארבעה זוזי לספונאי אמר להו אייתי לי מדעם ולא אשכחו אלא גווזא על כיף ימא אתיוה ליה אמרו ליה עביד מרנא עליה אישתכח דהוה מלי דינרי דזימנא חדא טבעת ספינתא וכולי עיסקא הוה מחית בההוא גווזא ואישתכח בההוא זימנא

And third, he became wealthy from a log [gavza] of wood, as on one occasion he gave four dinars to sailors and said to them: Bring me something worthwhile. And they found only a log of wood on the seashore. They brought it to him and said to him: May our master wait with this until we bring a more worthy item. He found that the log was full of dinars, as on one occasion a ship sunk and all the merchandise, i.e., the money, owned by the people on the ship was placed in that log, and it was found on that occasion by the sailors.

דמן דסרוקיתא ומן מטרוניתא

Rabbi Akiva became wealthy from a convoy of Ishmaelites [Serukita]. And he became wealthy from a certain lady. Rabbi Akiva borrowed money from a lady and said that God would be his guarantor. When it came time to return the loan, the king’s daughter became insane and threw a purse of jewelry into the sea, which was found by that lady. She told Rabbi Akiva that his guarantor had paid his debt and she allowed him to keep the loan.