"AKIVA, YOU HAVE COMFORTED US" When Rabbi Akiva saw the fox emerge from the Kodesh haKodashim

, he laughed. He explained that when Yeshayah associated the prophecy of Yeshayah 8,2:"And I took to myself faithful witnesses" It is Uriyah with the prophecy of Zecharyah, he customary for a document to be signed by a minimum of two intimated that the prophecy of Zecharyah -valid witnesses. Although the simple meaning is that Yeshayah that the Jews will return to Yerushalayim in took as witnesses two men who were living in his time, the great joy -- will come to fruition only if the Midrashic explanation is that he invoked two future prophets: prophecy of Uriyah comes to fruition first. Uriah, who was to prophesy that "Zion will be plowed like a Uriyah prophesied that Har haBayis would field" (Yirmiyahu 26:20; Micah 3:12) and Zecharyah who was become like a desolate forest. Rabbi Akiva to prophesy at the beginning of the Second Temple period that "old men and women will yet sit in the streets of Jerusalem" said that now that he sees the prophecy of (Zechariah 8:4). Uriyah coming true, he has no doubt that the What is the connection between Uriah and Zechariah? Uriah prophecy of Zecharyah will come true, and prophesied harsh punishments whereas Zechariah offered that is why he laughed. His colleagues exclaimed, "Akiva, you have Zechariah; just as the prophecy of Uriah has been fulfilled, so comforted us! Akiva, you have comforted will the prophecy of Zecharyah be fulfilled. us!" According to the Midrash in Eichah, they added, "May you be comforted by beholding the herald of Moshiach!" QUESTION: The Gemara implies that before he saw the fox emerge from the Kodesh haKodashim, Rabbi Akiva doubted whether the prophecies of Zecharyah or Uriyah would come true. How could Rabbi Akiva have had such a doubt? Certainly he trusted the prophecies, as "the word of Hashem always comes true" (Yeshayah 55:11)! ANSWERS: (a) The RIF in the EIN YAKOV, the ANAF YOSEF there, and the ARUCH LA'NER explain the Gemara based on the words of TOSFOS here. Tosfos points out that it is clear from Rabbi Akiva's statement that he understood that the words of Zecharyah refer to the future redemption. How, though, could he be sure that this was the intention of Zecharyah? Zecharyah's prophecy occurred before the redemption from the Babylonian exile, Galus Bavel, at the time of the Churban of the first Beis ha'Mikdash. Perhaps the prophecy of Zecharyah refers not to the future redemption, but to the return of the exiles from Bavel at the end of the seventy years of exile! This was Rabbi Akiva's doubt. When he saw the fox emerge from the Kodesh ha'Kodashim, he realized that Uriyah's prophecy of destruction was being fulfilled after the Churban of the second Beis haMikdash. Since the prophet states that the prophecy of Zecharyah will follow the fulfillment of the prophecy of Uriyah, Rabbi Akiva now was certain that Zecharyah's prophecy refers to the future Geulah. (b) The MAHARAL (Netzach Yisrael 26) explains that Rabbi Akiva did not doubt that the prophecy of Zecharyah would come true. He merely questioned whether the extent of the joy that Zecharyah foresaw would apply only to a small number of Jews, or whether the entire Jewish people would experience it. The vastness of the destruction that came about through the prophecy of Uriyah showed him that the Ge'ulah will counter that destruction and engender an unprecedented degree of rejoicing. Rav Hadar Margolin shlit'a explains that the Maharal alludes to what the verse in Tehilim (90:15) teaches. Hash-m will send a Ge'ulah that is proportionate to the days of affliction that the Jewish people suffered. This theme is evident even in the verses of the prophecy of Zecharyah (in 8:13-15, which follow the prophecy mentioned by the Gemara here), in which Zecharyah says that "just as you were accursed among the nations until now, so will Hash-m save you and you will be a blessing.... Thus Hashem says, 'As I have plotted to punish you because your fathers angered Me, so shall I plot in these days for the good of Yerushalayim." The Maharal's words, however, do not seem to be consistent with Rabbi Akiva's statement that "I was afraid that the prophecy of Zecharyah would not be fulfilled," which implies that he feared that it would not be fulfilled at all. Perhaps his words may be understood based on the following insight.
consolation! The prophecy of Uriah testifies to the prophecy of

The RAMBAM (in his introduction to Perush ha'Mishnayos) writes that a prophecy of good is never rescinded, while a prophecy of destruction can be rescinded). According to this principle, the prophecy of Uriyah would not necessarily have to come true, while the prophecy of Zecharyah would have to come true. However, the prophet implies that the prophecy of Zecharyah was given with a clause; it will come true only if the prophecy of Uriyah comes true before it. The reason for this condition is, as mentioned above, that the prophecy of Zecharyah was intended as an appeasement for the suffering described in the prophecy of Uriyah. If there is no suffering, then the prophecy does not have to come true. Therefore, even though a prophecy for good normally must come true, the prophecy of Zecharyah was an exception to this rule. This is the meaning of Rabbi Akiva's statement. "Had the prophecy of Uriyah not come true, I would have questioned whether the prophecy Micah 3,12: Therefore: (1) Zion shall be plowed like a field. This of Zecharyah would come true at prophecy was realized with the destruction of the Temple – the all. Now that I see that the Romans literally plowed up the Temple Mount. In case this was not prophecy of Uriyah has occurred enough, the prophecy has been realized again quite literally in our as described, I can be certain that days with the extensive Arab excavations on the Temple Mount in the prophecy of Zecharyah will recent years, in which many priceless archaeological relics have been also occur as described." When barbarically destroyed. (2) Jerusalem shall become heaps of rubble. Rabbi Akiva's colleagues heard This too was realized when the Romans destroyed the city, and again when the Jordanians wantonly destroyed synagogues and other this lesson of hope and inspiration, buildings in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem after its they blessed him that he should capture in the 1948 War of Independence. (3) The Temple Mount merit to see the fulfillment of the shall become like the high places of the forest. Anyone who has seen prophecy with his own eyes. May we merit to see the fulfillment of Zecharyah's prophecy in our day!

the Temple Mount from the Mt of Olives or aerial pictures knows that it has been planted with many trees, in flagrant violation of the Torah prohibition against planting any tree in the vicinity of G-d's altar.

QUESTION: His colleagues exclaimed, "Akiva, you have comforted us! Akiva, you have comforted us!" Why did they say this phrase twice? ANSWERS: 1. MAHARSHA: They intended to the two similar incidents mentioned in the Gemara when they cried and Rabbi Akiva laughed. The first incident when they heard the non-Jews performing avodah zarah in Eretz Yisrael in serenity and they cried, while Rabbi Akiva laughed and responded, if Hashem gives such reward to those who transgress His will, how much greater will be the reward of those who do His will! The second incident they saw the fox emerge from the Kodesh haKedoshim and they cried, while Rabbi Akiva laughed and responded with the discussion about the two prophecies. 2. ARUCH LA'NER: The word ‫( נחמה‬comfort) is naturally presented in a doubled format. 3. RIAF: Refers to the comforting with the building of the second and third Bais haMikdash. 4. RIAF (2): Originally, they believed that the prophets offered comfort on the future good (times of Moshiach) that would occur to the Jews, but not for the bad that was happening (Galus). Rabbi Akiva showed them that comfort also comes as a result of the prophecy of “bad.” 5. IMREI TZVI: They now understood that the comfort offered by the prophecy of Zecharyah would extend not only to Tzadikim but also to those that are not Tzadikim. 6. LUBAVITCHER REBBE: The second incident not only reveals the good in the future Redemption, but it reveals the good and comfort in the present Galus. Thus, the double concept of comfort from both incidents: for the future and for the present.

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