|Depiction of |
Akiva ben Joseph,
Mantua Haggadah (1568)
תניא אידך הנפנה ביהודה לא יפנה מזרח ומערב אלא צפון ודרום ובגליל צפון ודרום אסור מזרח ומערב מותר ורבי יוסי מתיר שהיה רבי יוסי אומר לא אסרו אלא ברואה רבי יהודה אומר בזמן שבית המקדש קיים אסור בזמן שאין בית המקדש קיים מותר רבי עקיבא אוסר בכל מקוםIn English:
It has been taught elsewhere: One who consults nature in Judea should not do so east and west but south and north, and in Galilee north and south is forbidden, east and west is permitted. R. Jose, however, permits it, since R. Jose used to say: This prohibition was meant to apply only to one who is in sight [of Jerusalem]. R. Judah says: When the Temple is in existence it is forbidden, when the Temple is not in existence it is permitted. R. Akiba forbids it in all places.What is meant by the statement that רבי עקיבא אוסר בכל מקום? The word makom can refer to locations, in which case is should be understood as "in every physical location", thus referring to physical locations as in the reisha, about one who consults nature in Judea vs. in Galilee.
However, the phrase bechol makom can also simply mean "in every instance". I would suggest that this is precisely what it means, and so Rabbi Akiva's disputant is not anyone in the reisha, but rather Rabbi Yehuda in the seifa. Rabbi Yehuda had said that only when the Temple is in existence it is forbidden, and Rabbi Akiva argues and states that even after the Temple's destruction, it is forbidden.
Rabbi Yossi (ben Chalafta) was a fourth-generation Tanna, and a student of the third-generation Tanna Rabbi Akiva.
Rabbi Yehuda (bar Ilai) was also a fourth-generation Tanna, and a student of Rabbi Akiva.
Rabbi Akiva was a third-generation Tanna.
If we bind Rabbi Akiva to the closer sefa, then Rabbi Akiva is not in any danger of approximating the Tanna Kamma, in opposition to Rabbi Yossi. (Of course, bechol makom could refer to both time and place.)
Can we read this into subsequent gemaras?
The gemara continues:
רבי עקיבא היינו ת"ק איכא בינייהו חוץ לארץ
R. Akiba says the same as the First Tanna? — They differ in the matter of outside of Palestine.We would need to part ways with the setama here, and say that Rabbi Akiva is entirely different from the Tanna Kamma.
רבה הוו שדיין ליה לבני מזרח ומערב אזל אביי שדנהו צפון ודרום על רבה תרצנהו אמר מאן האי דקמצער לי אנא כר' עקיבא סבירא לי דאמר בכל מקום אסור:
Rabbah had bricks placed for him east and west.28 Abaye went and changed them round to north and south. Rabbah went in and readjusted them. He said, Who is this that is annoying me? I take the view of R. Akiba, who said that it is forbidden in every place.The idea is that Rabba would not want to face Eretz Yisrael. When Abaye tested the arrangement, there are three possibilities.
- There was an earlier brayta, with the Chachamim seemingly different from the Tanna Kamma:
Our Rabbis taught: One who consults nature in Judea should not do so east and west25 but north and south. In Galilee he should do so only east and west.26 R. Jose, however, allows it, since R. Jose said: The prohibition was meant to apply only to one in sight of the Temple and in a place where there is no fence intervening and at the time when the Divine Presence rests there. The Sages, however, forbid it. The Sages say the same as the First Tanna? — They differ with regard to the sides.27Perhaps Rabba was not directly in line with the Temple, and so there would be no problem, as was stated by the setama degemara here.
- Since Rabba was outside Eretz Yisrael, perhaps he held like Rabbi Yossi.
- Since this was after the Churban, perhaps Rabba held like Rabbi Yehuda.
It has been taught: R. Akiba said: Once I went in after R. Joshua to a privy, and I learnt from him three things. I learnt that one does not sit east and west but north and south; I learnt that one evacuates not standing but sitting; and I learnt that it is proper to wipe with the left hand and not with the right. Said Ben Azzai to him: Did you dare to take such liberties with your master? He replied: It was a matter of Torah, and I required to learn. It has been taught: Ben 'Azzai said: Once I went in after R. Akiba to a privy, and I learnt from him three things. I learnt that one does not evacuate east and west but north and south. I also learnt that one evacuates sitting and not standing. I also learnt it is proper to wipe with the left hand and not with the right. Said R. Judah to him: Did you dare to take such liberties with your master? — He replied: It was a matter of Torah, and I required to learn.Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chanania, Rabbi Akiva, and Ben Azzai were Tannaim operating in the aftermath of the destruction of the Temple.
Of course, this is all just speculation followed by exploration.