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We Are One

Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?


We learn that the students of Rebbe Akiva didn't show each other sufficient respect and that is why they died. It doesn't say that they insulted each other but that "lo nahagu kavod zeh bazeh" - there was a lack of respect. Rebbe Akiva taught that the guiding principle of the Torah is "Viahavta lirayacha kamocha" and the students failed to live up to that.

Torah is not merely an intellectual pursuit. If it does not come along with good character it is worthless. There is a halacha in the Rambam that if a student has bad character he should not be taught Torah! First - menschlichkeit and then Torah.

One more thought. Chazal say that there were 12,000 pairs of students who died. Why not just say 24,000 students? The answer might be that Chazal are telling us the problem. Cliques. I don't have to respect you because you aren't my chavrusa!! That is the source of the problem.

Today we also have that sometimes. Modern Orthodox feel connected to other Modern Orthodox. Black hatters feel connected to their ilk etc. The truth - we are all one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love and blessings!

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Segula - 40 days at the Kotel

About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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