Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

tament.

self-control, and still continued regularly 'plays an important part in the New Tes. to attend the disputations. One day ail

Thus of Christ it is said, " He is Ammonite proselyte of the house of Judah our peace" (Eph. ii. 14); and St. Paul sought to be admitted to the congregation says, "the God of peace shall bruise Satan of Israel. R. Gamaliel opposed his ad- under your feet shortly” (Rom. xvi. 20). mission, appealing to the prohibition con- Peace, as Taylor observes, is a Talmudic tained in Deut. xxiii. 3, " An Ammonite or name of God, and the etymological conMoabite shall not enter into the congrega- nection in Hebrew between peace and tion of the Lord.” R. Joshua mainiained perieciness, "everything is perfected by that the proselyte ought to be received. peace”- affords a clue to the source " Are these people still," asked he "in from whence several of the Pauline extheir ancient possessions ? Did not Sen- pressions may have been derived. nacherio carry them away captive to R. Elazar ben 'Asariah used to ask: Assyria ?” (Isa. x.). “ But is it not writ. “To what is that man like whose wisdom ten," urged R. Gamaliel, “] will bring is greater than his doings (works]? He again the captivity of the children of Am- is like to a tree whose branches are many, mon ?” (Jer. xlix. 6). “ They have verily but whose roots are few; and the wind been brought back again,” said Gamaliel. comes and uproots it, and overturns it, as R. Joshua maintained that such was not it is written, and he shall be as one the case. At the close of the debate the stripped naked (as the heath, A. V.]in the assembly divided, and the views advocated desert, and shall not see when good comby R. Joshua were accepted by the large eth, and he shall inhabit the parched majority of votes. R. Gamaliel then with places in the wilderness, a salt land, and drew bis opposition, and the proselyte not inhabited'(Jer. xvii. 6). But what is was admitted into the congregation. R. that man like whose doings are greater Gamaliel, after the meeting, visited R. than his wisdom ? Like a tree whose Joshua in his dwelling and sought recon- branches are few, and whose roots are ciliation with him. The latter was a nail. many, for though all the winds which are smith, and his house was black with the in the world come and light upon it they smoke of the furnace. Gamaliel on enter- do not move it from its place, according ing marvelled to see the place in which his as it is said, “and he shall be like a tree renowned adversary lived." Thy walls,” planted by the waters, and that spreadeth said he in astonishment, “ bear testimony out her roots by the river, and shall not to the fact that thou art a blacksmith." see when heat cometh, and her leaf shall “Woe,” answered R. Joshua, “ to the be green, and shall not be careful in the generation whose leader thou art! thou year of drought, neither shall cease from knowest not the poverty of the learned, or yielding fruit,'” (Jer. xvii. 8) (Aboth iii. how they support themseives !” “Forgive 27, in Strack's ed., iii. 17). me," said R. Gamaliel, “ I have been un. The striking resemblance of this senti. just to thee." R. Joshua was silent. “For ment to the words of our Lord at the congive me," urged R. Gamaliel, “out of clusion of the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. consideration for the honor of my father.” vii. 24-27) cannot fail to suggest itself to R. Joshua gave him his hand, and the two the mind. The details of the parable of learned men were reconciled on the spot.* our Lord are different, but the teaching of The reconciliation was noised abroad, and both parables is identical. created a deep revulsion in favor of Gama. The last and most famous of the great liel. R. Elazar ben “Asariah generously Jewish rabbis of the first century who resigned the patriarchate, and Gamaliel shall be here mentioned is R. Akiba. ACII. was reinstated in the post.

cording to the common story he was of We close this notice of Gamaliel 11. Gentile origin. He entered into the emwith the golden saying of his mentioned ployment of a rich inhabitant of Jerusa. in "Aboth," a saying which seems to lem as a shepherd. While so engaged he have been called forth by such experi- cordially hated the learned class, possibly ences: “On three things the world stands : because of the contempi often exhibited on judgment, and on truth, and on peace.” by them to persons of his class. He once " Justice, truth, and peace," as Dr. Charles said, “When I was one of the common Taylor notes, " are collectively the ovvdeo- people I would say, O that I had here the Hos of society, a threefold cord which is disciple or a wise man, that I might bite not quickly broken " (Eccl. iv, 12). Peace him like an ass”(Pesachim, 49 b). But his

hatred to learning was totally altered by his • See Berachoth, 28 a. The same story is related in falling in love with Rachel, the daughter of Bechoroth, 36.

his employer. He was then a widower,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

99

and had one son by a previous wife. He magnificent robe upon which was embroidwas a man of noble exterior as well as of ered in gold a picture of Jerusalem. * great mental powers. His love was re- According to the story, the wife of the turned with love. But Rachel refused to Jewish patriarch became envious on acgive him her hand unless he abandoned count of the splendor of the robe which his shepherd's staff and became a scholar. R. Akiba bestowed upon his wife, and Though forty years of age, he accepted complained that no such present had been the conditions imposed by his beloved, bestowed upon her. The patriarch Ga. and forthwith enrolled himself as the pupil maliel Il. reprimanded her for her jealousy, of the most distinguished Jewish teachers remarking that a wife only deserved such of that day. For twelve years he devoted a distinction who had deprived herself of himself to intense study, though at first he her tresses for the sake of her husband. learned slowly and with difficulty. He Possessed of a wife of such sterling qualibegan his studies some fifteen years previ- ties, it is no wonder that one of the sayous to the destruction of the Temple by ings attributed to R. Akiba should be: Titus. Though his fellow-students were "That man is rich who possesses a wife men of the highest abilities, Akiba excelled with excellent virtues" (Shabbath, 25).

them all. He carefully learned the tradi. R. Akiba's school in Bene-Berak soon tions of the fathers, and acquired the skill became famous, and many of the distin. to discover proofs for these, or allusions guished rabbis of a later period were to then, in passages of the Sacred Scrip: among his pupils. His scholars were tures. When on one occasion he pressed wont to compare R. Akiba to a husbandhis opponent R. Eliezer ben Hyrkanus man who goes out to a field to seek for hard in argument, R. Joshua, the learned grain. If he finds wheat he gathers that, blacksmith, said to Eliezer, “See, these if barley he takes it also. If he sees spelt are the people which you despise” (Jer. he adds it to his stock, or if beans or lenPesach. vi. 4).

tiles he reaps them also. But when he In due course Akiba was married ; but returns, he arranges all in order according Rachel's father, Kalba Shebna, opposed to their respective sorts. His rules for the marriage, and it took place privately. teaching were, “ A portion daily, a portion Kalba Shebna drove the pair from his daily." Repeat often the sentence which house, and disinherited his daughter. The you wish to impress on the minds of your married pair were accordingly reduced to scholars.” “ Teach out of a book which great straits. Their first child was born is correct, for a blunder once fixed in the upon a heap of straw, and Rachel was memory cannot easily be eradicated.” compelled to cut off her hair and sell it in It is unnecessary here to enter into any order to provide the means of subsist. details as to his learning. This subject ence. R. Akiba consoled her on the oc- is ably treated in the work of Bacher, who casion with the promise, “When I become gives numerous instances of his inge rich I will buy for thee a golden Jerusa- nuity. His subtlety enabled him to dislem.” He was obliged to separate himself cover many Biblical arguments in favor of for several years from her society while the traditions of the fathers. Those intercarrying on his studies at Jerusalem. pretations often cannot bear the light of When he returned to Bene-Berak, south- modern criticism, although similar princieast of Joppa, after having completed his ples of exegesis have been only too comstudies, in order to found a college of his mon with popular preachers of all own, a multitude went out to meet the churches, who sometimes take little trouble then distinguished rabbi. Rachel, clad to ascertain the real meaning of the texts in a miserable attire, went also forth to they venture to expound. R. Akiba was meet him, and when she saw him sprang said to be able to give a reason for every forward and clasped his knees. His dis. little stroke and point in the sacred writciples, not knowing who she was, at. ings. tempted to thrust her away. But R. He used to say of sin that “in the beAkiba exclaimed, “Let her alone, make ginning it is as weak as the thread of a room for her; all that I am, and that you spider, but in the end as strong as the are, we have to thank her for " (Nedarim, towing-rope of a ship” (Midrash Bere50). Her father, proud of the fame of his shith, $ xxii., on Gen. iv. 6). This saying son-in-law, now bestowed upon her a rich of his was founded on Isaiah v. 18. On dowry, and left R. Akiba his entire pos- one occasion he taught for a time his stusessions. R. Akiba was not unmindful of the promise he had made in the days of • See Graetz's Geschichte der Juden, iv. 59 ff. poverty, and bestowed upon his wife a † Aboth Rabbi Nathan, 18.

66

dents in the morning under the shade of a world is judged by grace, and everything large fig-tree. When the figs began to get is according to work." R. Akibá here ripe, the owner of the tree was wont to go affirms that the supposed opposites, preout very early and gather all the ripe fruit. destination and freewill, mercy and justice, Fearing that he did so because he sus- are reconcilable with each other. The pected their honesty, the rabbi and his profound saying of a later rabbi may also pupils removed to another locality. The be quoted as setting forth the prevalent owner was disappointed when he came opinion among the Pharisees on this quesand found that they had left the place. tion: " Everything is in the power of He at once sought them and discovered Heaven except the disposition of a man where they had removed. “My lords,” towards Heaven.” What a flood of light said the owner, “ you afforded me much does the doctrine of the Pharisee shed on pleasure when you held your meetings that of the great apostle of the Gentiles, under my fig-tree, and now you have de- who was “a Pharisee and the son of a prived me of that honor." "We did not Pharisee," in the Epistle to the Romans. mean,” replied they, “to deprive you of It is the old teaching of the Book of any pleasure.” “But why did you, then, Koheleth, namely, that man's circumgo away from my tree ? " asked the owner. stances and surroundings are foreseen " Because," was the reply, “we thought and predestined, but that man himself is you suspected us.” “I did not suspect free to choose whether he will hear, or you," answered the owner, “and I beg refuse to hear, the voice of God. that you will return." They accordingly The last saying of R. Akiba that we did so. The next morning the owner shall here quote is : " Everything is given came early as usual, but he stood quietly [to man] on pledge, and the net (of death; there, and did not gather the figs. When compare Eccl. ix. 12, Isa. xxv. 7] is cast the sun shone upon the tree the ripe fruit over all the living. The office is open ; became full of worms. The owner then the broker [the Lord of the world] gives showed the fruit to R. Akiba and his dis. credit; and the ledger is open; and the ciples, aod said, “ You now see why I hand writes ; and whosoever will borrow, used to pluck off the fruit so early, not comes and borrows; and the bailiffs [the because I suspected your honesty, but be- angels] go round continually every day, cause I did not wish the fruit to be de- and exact from a man whether he knows stroyed.” R. Akiba then remarked to his it or not; and they have whereon to lean disciples, “See ye not that the owner of [evidence enough); and the judgment is a the fig-tree knows exactly when the fruit judgment of truth; and everything is preshould be gathered ; and even so God pared for the Banquet" (Aboth iii. 25, in knows the time when the righteous ought Strack's ed., iii. 16). Compare the cry of to be taken away from this world.” He the angel in the book of Revelation : then quoted in illustration of the truth - Blessed are they that are called to the the expression in the Song of Songs, vi. marriage supper of the Lamb" (Rev. xix. 2, “My beloved is gone down to his gar- 9). den to gather lilies."*

R. Akiba was one of the chief movers The following sayi of R. Akiba re- in the terrible Jewish insurrection in the mind us of the words of the Apostle John days of Trajan and Hadrian. That second in the opening verses of his i Epist. iii.: war of the Jews had no historian like Jo“ Man is beloved inasmuch as he was sephus to record its victories and defeats. created in the image of God; greater love The last great battle was fought on the was it that it was made known to him that great plain on which the city Sepporis he was so created.” “ Israel is beloved stood, at the Castra Vetera of the Romans. because they are called the sons of God; That name seems afterwards to have been greater love was it that this was made corrupted into that of Bether.* The awful known to them [in the words of the law), struggle might well be described in the as it is said, “Ye are the sons of the Lord words of Rev. xiv. 20, “ The blood came (Aboth iii. 21, 22; Strack, forth even unto the horses' bridles." The

losses of the Romans were too awful to More important are his sayings, in the permit of their making any boast of the same treatise, on the question of predes victory which they ultimately achieved, tination and foreknowledge : “Everything but according to the lowest calculation, in is foreseen; and freewill is given. The that fearful war more than five hundred

• This anecdote is related in the “Midrash Bere. See Bether, die fragliche Stadt im Hadrianischshith," $ xlii., op Gen. xxv. 8, and also in the Midrash judischen Kriege: ein 1700-jähriges Missverständniss. Koheleth” in ch. v. 11, and in other places.

| 'Von Dr. F. Lebrecht. Berlin: Adolf Cohn, 1877.

a

your God'

iii. 14).

and eighty thousand Jews perished by the O Israel," with a loud voice, to the amazesword.

ment of all present. “Art thou a sorR. Akiba travelled far and wide previous cerer?” asked the Roman general who to the breaking out of that insurrection to presided over the execution. “I am no prepare the Jews for the struggle. He sorcerer," was the calm reply of R. Akiba ; visited even Rome on that business. As “but I rejoice to fulfil that which has ever his companions heard in the distance the been regarded by me as the highest ideal: noise of the great city, they were startled, • Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with and thought of the days of the destruction all thy heart, and all thy soul, and with all of Jerusalem by Titus. The rabbi con- thy substance'- that is, even if he should soled them with the remark, “ If the wicked take away thy life.” As he was dwelling now prosper so much, how will it be by on the word “the Lord thy God is ONE," and by with the righteous ?” “Every- and prolonging the last syllable of the thing that happens to you is for your Hebrew word, his spirit winged its flight good," was his constant expression, a say. to that place where “the wicked cease ing similar to that of the apostle in Rom. from troubling and the weary are at rest” viii. 28, which has often been a consola- (Job iii. 17). tion to the martyrs of the Church. “When Our subject is not exhausted, nor have evil befalls the heathen," said Akiba, we given more than few illustrations of “they curse their gods; but we praise our what may be gathered from even an im. God both in prosperity and adversity, and perfect study of rabbinical literature. cry, Praise be to the Judge of Truth!”

CHARLES H. H. WRIGHT. At Rome he met with a young, unmarried nobleman who had heard of his wisdom, but who noticed with astonishment that the rabbi was on foot and barefooted. “Art thou a Jewish rabbi ?" asked the

From The New Review. Roman. “I am," replied R. Akiba.

ENGLISHWOMEN IN INDIA. “Then listen," said he, "to three words : ANY one who is asked to write a dea king rides upon horseback, a freeman scription of civilized men or women in on an ass, and a common person goes on any given country will, likely enough, be foot with shoes; but he that hath neither reminded of Lady Mary Wortley Monthe one nor the other, for him is the grave tagu's remark, that she bad never met but to be preferred.” “Thou hast spoken two sorts of people in the world - men three words,” rejoined the rabbi ; "now and women. hear also three from me. The ornament What is the type of the Anglo-Indian of the face is the beard, the joy of the lady? This is a problem that has been heart is the wife, and the dowry of the set me frequently, and when I have tried Eternal is children ; woe to the man who to answer I have felt daunted by the mulhas not these three! Moreover, I will tiplicity of types that have sprung to my answer thee from our Scripture : 'I have memory, and by the fear of appearing to seen slaves upon horses, and princes like judge or criticise where I have only been slaves walking upon the ground (Eccles. asked to describe, and, where I am chiefly x. 6. See “Midrash Koheleth," on that concerned, to defend. passage)

An Anglo-Indian woman is only a temR. Akiba threw his whole heart and soul porarily transplanted English woman, and into the Jewish insurrection. He pro- only in so far as she is subject to special claimed the great Jewish commander, Bar conditions does she differ from the women Kokab, to be the promised Messiah. Re- of her own race and class anywhere else. ferring to the name of that commander, These conditions are, — exile, enervating, which signified "son of a star,” R. Akiba and often deadly climate ; a society which exclaimed, “ Behold the star that is come is in most places very small, never very out of Jacob; the days of redemption are large, and which is three-fourths military at hand!” Akiba,” said the peace-lov. and one-fourth official; which contains a ing R. Joshua, " the grass will spring up large preponderance of men over women, from thy jaw-bone ere the Son of David will no old people, and no young ones between

the ages of six and sixteen ; which is re. The Romans put R. Akiba to death with cruited from the upper of our upper middle. the utmost torture. While they were classes at home, in which almost all enjoy combing off his flesh with iron combs the a competence sufficient to meet the extime of prayer arrived. The Jewish rabbi penses of their position, but affording no began to recite the Jewish formula,“ Hear, margin for freedom of action, or the pur

come.

gup.”

suit of a wide choice of interests; a life in the widest sense), indeed, all Christian of interruptions and publicity, of few do: virtues, except, perhaps, humility. There mestic responsibilities, much' solitude for is nothing specially Indian about her, ex. the women, and peculiarly heavy responsi- cept her long Indian experience, her pluck bilities for the men.

and hospitality. She is the nearest apThese are the conditions which are proach we ever get in India to the venerpeculiar to India, but many characteristics able in age, but she is not fifty, and soon of both the life and the people are common her husband will retire on his hard-earned to all English provincial lives and people. pension, ard take her away to a semiAnglo-Indian society is provincial with detached villa at Bath or Cheltenham, and officialism superadded, and has much in India will lose in her a restraint and a common with that of the English country tradition. town, especially the garrison town, whilst Then there is the gay and giddy lady, the hill-stations have a considerable dash the “cheery” woman, who rests not day of the watering-place about them. It is or night organizing picnics, promoting my object to show that some of the less dances and theatricals, who mourns the attractive peculiarities of the English- inertia of her fellows if entertainments woman in India have nothing peculiarly fiag even for a week, who frequents hill. Indian about them. And whilst I must stations, but is not necessarily a grassown that in India a woman is more tempted / widow. Her talk is much interlarded with to drift into idleness, inertia, local-minded. Anglo-Indian expressions, such as “tif. ness, uncultured, gossipy lines of thought fin,” “chit,” “pukka,”

Her chil. and speech, into pleasure-seeking and dren, if she has any, are at home. Before Airtation (I use the word advisedly as dis- they went she most likely was a different tinct from serious love-making), ihan she woman – much as Indian mothers always ever need be at home, yet the life has pro- are, anxious, watchful, and worn, but they duced, and is producing, women of whom had to go, and she had to stay, and her we have every reason to be proud, and pleasure-loving nature, without occupation whose qualities many women in England or responsibility, finds its own consolation. may do well to imitate.

There is no particular harm in the cheery Let us begin with the “Burra Memsa. woman; she is what is called "a useful hib." There is no adequate translation of sort of person to have in a station, because this name ; "the great lady" bas too aris. she gets things up, you know," and there tocratic and feudal a sound about it; "the is some truth in the phrase in a country great official lady” would be nearer the where all amusements are amateur, and mark. She is the wife of a member-in- must be self-constructed. There is always council, a commissioner, a judge, or a a lady of this type on a P. and O. steamer; collector. There is something lovable, she has a fancy dress in the hold, and and yet awful, about her. She grasps an therefore insists on a fancy ball; she genornate card-case as her social oriflamme, erally knows one part in " “Sweethearts the table of precedence is her Magna or "Ici on Parle Français,” but as Mr. Charta, she is supremely virtuous, she Kipling would say, " that is another story," leads and judges the society in which she and must be written some day under the moves, her conversation is strictly local, head of " P. and 0. passengers, a distinct practical, and personal. She has weathered race." What is there peculiarly Indian many dangers and hardships. She is a about this woman? I maintain nothing Conservative, and in theory ber sympa. but her circumstances. Frivolity and thies are anti-native, but if you inquired pleasure-seeking are foibles of English as of her servants and others of her Aryan well as Indian growth. Indeed, the ordibrethren, you would hear how in more than nary “plains” station offers a starvation name she is "the protector of the poor." diet for such a nature, but in a hill-station, There is a touch of the patriarchal about or any large centre in “ the season," there her household. In camp she shows a is an atmosphere of holiday-making, espe. genius for “bundobust ;'* in “the sta- cially among those who have escaped there tion” her dinner-parties are wearisome, on a few weeks' leave, and the cheery but her hospitality unfailing. Her doors woman finds many playmates and amuseare ever open, her help ever ready for the ments for every day of the week. sick, the bereaved, or simply the stranger.

Then there are the flirts, and will any Her faults are pomposity and huffiness; one tell me they are the product of any her virtues hospitaliiy, charity (not always particular country? They exist in India,

no doubt, in a larger proportion than in • Arrangement.

England, but there is less demand for fe

a

[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »