One of great and tragic figures in our Talmudic corpus is that of Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrkanus. Hailed by his teacher, Rabbi Yochanan ben Zackai, as a “cemented cistern that does not lose one drop”, his greatness was such that “if all the scholars of Israel would be on side of the scale and Eliezer ben Hyrkanus on the other, he would weigh them all down” (Avot 2:8).
oven of Achnai
Akavya ben Mehalelel is best known for the teaching, “Focus on three things, and you will not come to the hands of sin: know from where you come, to where you are going, and before Whom you will give a reckoning and accounting” (Pirkei Avot 3:1). This teaching should be seen in the light of another teaching of his. The Mishnah records four (rather obscure and technical) areas of Jewish law where Akavya disagreed with the accepted rabbinic view.