The Daily Chizzuk by our Rebbe Rav Eliezer Berland shlit”a — How could a father throw out his daughter like that?
Sunday, 10 Elul 5783 — “There are billions of secrets about every letter in the Torah”
These are his holy words:
Bring the Midrash Rabba and Chumash Bereishit — there is enough material here for a thousand years; we will try to constrict it to a half hour. Until “Vayikra,” this is all Midrashim.
Vayikra begins, “Vayikra…Hashem” (Vayikra 1:1). Moshe saw Vav over the whole world, Yud over the whole world.
Moshe did not just simply write the Torah. It’s not that Hashem said to him, “Bereishit Bara Elokim — In the beginning, God created” (Bereishit 1:1), and Moshe came down and wrote, “Bereishit Bara Elokim.” Rather, Hashem showed him the Beit over the whole world. After this, the Reish over the whole world, Alef over the whole world, Shin over the whole world, Yud over the whole world, Tav over the whole world. Moshe saw the Beit — wrote it; the Reish — wrote it. So it was with ever letter. Hashem showed to him each letter and he wrote.
Every letter is billions of secrets. There are heaps upon heaps of Halachot for every single crown on the letter. All the secrets were given over to Rabbi Akiva. We see this, because does the Rabbi travel to the student? Then how did Rabbi Eliezer the Great and Rabbi Yehoshua, who were his Rabbis, travel to Rabbi Akiva? Here he learned Torah by them. From here, we see the greatness of Rabbi Akiva.
When Rachel bat Kalba Savua married Rabbi Akiva, he did not know reading or writing. When years had passed, Kalba Savua came to Rabbi Akiva and told him the terrible story. He related that he dispossessed his daughter and threw her out of the house. Terrible stories. It’s embarrassing for me to retell a story about a man who threw his daughter out of the house. I haven’t heard of such a thing. Maybe in our days, there are such things; I don’t know.
Kalba Savua had a righteous daughter, a good daughter. Why he threw her out, I don’t know. In the end, Rabbi Akiva asked him, “Why did you throw him out [his son-in-law, meaning himself, because Kalba Savua didn’t know that he was talking to his son-in-law]. Why? Because he did not know Mishnah?”
Kalba Savua answered: “What Mishnah? He didn’t know Birchat HaMazon. He didn’t know Alef Beit!” All of this in a conversation which happened when they met after 24 years. Rabbi Akiva asks him, “How did you do such a thing, to throw the girl from the house? Explain to me; how are such things done?”
The Midrash HaGadol is a compilation of all the Midrashim which had disappeared. The Midrash HaGadol says in Shemot on the verse, “Please send through whom You will send” (Shemot 4:13), Kalba Savua said, “It is already 24 years since I threw out my daughter and swore that I would not sustain her. I asked, ‘How is she?’ They told me that now she is hungry, thirsty, without clothes, sleeps on the ground.
“When I threw her out, her husband [Rabbi Akiva] did not know how to say any blessing in the world. Suddenly my daughter who was the most successful, most wonderful, took for herself some sheep herder.”
Rabbi Akiva said to him, “If your son-in-law had known Scripture or Mishnah, if he had known a verse, would you have thrown her out like that?”
“Chas v’Shalom, even if he had known how to say a blessing, I would not have thrown them out. I didn’t just thrown them out for no reason. Don’t suspect me that I’m an evil person who threw his daughter out. Half my assets I would have given to him if he had known how to saw a blessing.”
Rabbi Akiva revealed himself to him and said, “But it is I!” Oy, he fainted on the spot.
Rachel married Rabbi Akiva, because she understood that if he would begin to learn Torah, he would be the greatest genius in the world. She penetrated to the depth of his soul and understood that there is in front of her a man, who although he doesn’t know right now even the Alef-Beit, but if he will begin to learn, he will be the greatest genius in the world. He only needs to start learning.
A person can be the most foolish person in the world, but if he only opens up the Gemara and begins to learn, then he will become the great sage of the generation, he will become Rabbi Akiva.