In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thy hand (Eccl. XI, 6). R. Eliezer and R. Joshua discussed this. R. Eliezer said: If you have sown in the early season, sow in the late season, for you do not know which will be successful, whether the early sowing or the late sowing, as Scripture continues, For thou knowest not which shall prosper, whether this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good (ib.). R. Joshua said: If a poor man comes to you in the morning, relieve him; if in the evening, relieve him too, because you do not know which of them the Holy One, blessed be He, has allotted to you, Whether this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good. R. Ishmael and R. Akiba discussed it. R. Ishmael said: If you have studied Torah in your youth, study it in your old age, because you do not know which you will retain, ' Whether this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good. R. Akiba said: If you have raised disciples in your youth, raise disciples in your old age, because you do not know which the Holy One, blessed be He, has destined for you,
(To preserve and transmit your teachings.) Whether this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good. R. Akiba had twelve thousand disciples from Gabbath(In the territory of Dan; Biblical Gibbethon. Cur. edd.: Acco.) to Antipatris (A town north-north-west of Jerusalem, founded by Herod the Great and named after his father (Jast.).) and all died at the same period. Why? Because they looked grudgingly on each other. Eventually he raised seven disciples: R. Meir, R. Judah, R. Jose, R. Simeon, R. Eleazar b. Shamua, R. Johanan the Cobbler, (Many of the Rabbis were manual workers.) and R. Eliezer b. Jacob. Others say: R. Judah, R. Nehemiah, R. Meir, R. Jose, R. Simeon b. Yohai, R. Hanina b. Hakinai, and R. Johanan the Cobbler. Said he: My sons, the previous ones died only because they grudged each other [the knowledge of the Torah; see to it that you do not act thus. They therefore arose and filled the whole of Eretz Israel with Torah. R. Dostai and R. Jannai
in the name of R. Samuel b. Nahman explained it: If you have had children in your youth, take a wife in old age and beget children. From whom do you learn this? From Abraham, who had children in his younger years,(Comparatively speaking.) and yet took a wife in his old age and begot children, as it says, AND ABRAHAM TOOK ANOTHER WIFE, etc.