Akabja, Ben-mahalaleel

Akabja, Ben-Mahalaleel, a celebrated Tanaite, who probably lived in the 2d century, is known for his learning and probity, and the attitude he took against his colleagues. He had made decisions in regard to four Halachas in a manner unpalatable to the sages. As nothing could shake his testimony, an attempt was made to bribe him into compliance with the theological wishes of the rabbins by the tempting offer of raising him to the office of ab-beth-din. But he remained firm. "Rather," exclaimed he, "may I be termed a fool all my life than for one hour stand as a transgressor before God!" (Eduyoth, 5, 6). Argument failing, he was excommunicated, and in conviction of the righteousness of his cause, he patiently bore this sentence to the day of his death. But before his decease, Akabja admonished his son to submit to the Sanhedrim. He could not have done so, as he had received the traditions from more than one rabbi; but his son had only heard them from the lips of his father. Before expiring, the rabbi also directed his son not to seek the patronage of men, but the recommendation of deeds which would deserve the praise of others. This was his maxim: "Ponder on three things, and thou wilt be kept from committing sin. Consider whence thou comest, whither thou goest, and in whose presence thou must shortly render an account" (Pirke Aboth, 3, 1). See Frankel, Darke Mishna, s.v. "Akabja;" Gratz, Gesch. d. Juden, 4, 59; Jost, Gesch. d. Judenth. u. s. Sekten, 2, 34; Hamburger, Real- Encyklop. s.v. (B. P.)

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