Rabbi Akiva and the 10 sons of Haman

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Haman's 10 sons

Rabbi Akiva, Bnei Brak and the 10 sons of Haman

Excerpt of a shiur given by Rav Eliezer Berland, shlita, on Shabbat, Parshat Pekudei, 5779

Now, we are going to give over a shiur on the 10 sons of Haman. Tens of the sons of Haman just ran to learn Torah in Bnei Brak, for their sons became Torah learners in Bnei Brak.[1] They had a wealth of children, 70 went to live in Bnei Brak, on Rabbi Akiva Street.

And once upon a time, that was where the beit midrash of the sons of Haman was located. That’s where they used to spread their Torah learning, and that’s why all the greatest Tannaim came to do seder night by Rabbi Akiva, in Bnei Brak.

There’s a kooshia, a difficulty with this, there’s a million difficulties with this.

There are a billion kooshiot on every sentence in the haggada. Let’s say a billion minus one.

Firstly, why are you going to Bnei Brak, where Rabbi Akiva lives?

If you’re travelling already, go to Lod![2] Who lives in Lod? Rabbi Eliezer HaGadol. Who was greater, Rabbi Eliezer HaGadol, or Rabbi Akiva? Rabbi Eliezer HaGadol travelled to Rabbi Akiva!

How is it possible to understand this, seeing as Rabbi Eliezer HaGadol was the Rav of Rabbi Akiva, and the Rav of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Hananya, who was the bar plugta (peer) of Rav Eliezer HaGadol. It says that the halacha goes according to Rabbi Yehoshua ben Hananya, but everyone went to Bnei Brak.

Now, we have a billion kooshiot.

If they’d at least travelled to Lod, I could have understood that, but to go to Bnei Brak?!

What is there, in Bnei Brak? What’s there? There’s Chazon Nachum, which is a good yeshiva, but [what else] apart from shikun (housing block) 5, where I lived for six years, and which was the strongest place in Bnei Brak?

We lived on Yaabetz Street, and we used to go and do hitbodedut on Shach”l Street. We got married in shikun 5, and we lived there until 5742. Then, Nachman fell out of his pram and went into a coma, and so then we sold the house[3], and that same moment he woke up from the coma.

We gave the house to Rav Shimon Bergstein.

So, what’s going on, with travelling to Bnei Brak?

There’s a million kooshiot here. Rabbi Eliezer HaGadol was the Rav of both Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Yehoshua ben Hananya. Rabbi Tarfon was a new student of Rabbi Akiva. But Rabbi Yehoshua ben Hananya and Rabbi Eliezer ben Azaria were both the rabbis of Rabbi Akiva!

But, Rabbi Akiva used to derive mountains of halachot from every crown [on the Torah’s Hebrew letters.]

Rabbi Akiva was the only one to get to the 50th gate, which is where all the crowns are located.

Translated from Shivivei Or, #85

[1] See Tractate Megillah, 15b

[2] In Tractate Sanhedrin 36b, it states that Rabbi Eliezer HaGadol had a yeshiva in Lod.

[3] In order to raise the money for a pidyon nefesh for Nachman Berland, the Rav’s son. You can see the full story HERE.

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