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Acquiring Torah 10: Seeds of Torah

Ben Azzai says: All the Sages of Israel are in comparison with myself, as thin as the husk of garlic, except that bald head [Rashi: Rabbi Akiva].” (Bechorot 58a) Ben Azzai was often criticized by the Sages for not marrying, and fathering children. He was compared by them to the husk of a garlic that does not produce any seeds. However, he felt that he was able to bring seeds of life and light into the world with his extraordinary undistracted focus and his commitment to Torah, and that, in fact, he was the fruit of the garlic, filled with seeds. He  believed that Rabbi Akiva, who accessed the highest levels of the Oral Law, and produced so many seeds of Torah for eternity, was the only sage who could see him for what he truly was. (Ben Yehoyada; Bechorot)


Ben Azzai perceived that each question and dispute he resolved, was a seed of light, allowing future generations to have more clarity. Part of the process of Acquiring Torah is to appreciate that everything that we study, each question, answer, insight and idea, is a seed of light that brings more clarity into the world.

This can be used as a Kavanah in the bracha of Yotzair Ohr.

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