Random Quote #45 topic: hebraic, Translations from the Talmud, Midrashim and Kabbala

When Rabbi Eliezer was sick he was visited by Rabbi Akiva and his
party.... "Wherefore have ye come?" he asked. "To learn the law," was
the reply. "And why did you not come sooner?" "Because we had no
leisure," said they. "I shall be much surprised," said he, "if you die a
natural death." Then turning to Rabbi Akiva he said, "Thy death shall be
the worst of all." Then folding his arms upon his breast, he exclaimed:
"Woe unto my two arms! for they are like two scrolls of the law rolled
up, so that their contents are hidden. Had they waited upon me, they
might have added much to their knowledge of the law, but now that
knowledge will perish with me. I have in my time learned much and taught
much, and yet I have no more diminished the knowledge of my Rabbis by
what I have derived from them than the waters of the sea are reduced by
a dog lapping them. Over and above this I expounded three hundred," some
allege he said three thousand, "Halachahs with reference to the growing
of Egyptian cucumbers, and yet no one except Akiva ben Yoseph has ever
proposed a single question to me respecting them. He and I were walking
along the road one day when he asked me to instruct him regarding the
cultivation of Egyptian cucumbers. I made but one remark, when the
entire field became full of them. Then at his request I made a remark
about cutting them, when lo! they all collected themselves together in
one spot." Thus Rabbi Eliezer kept on talking, when all of a sudden he
fell back and expired.

THE TALMUD, _Sanhedrin_, fol. 68, col. 1.


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