Rabbi Akiva, the renowned Talmudic sage, prepared for his lovely daughter’s wedding with mixed emotions. Although he eagerly awaited the special day, anxiety enveloped his heart. Many years earlier, pagan astrologers had predicted that a poisonous snake would bite his daughter on her wedding day. He resolved not to relay his fears to anyone, and to trust in G‑d that his daughter would be safe.

The wedding day arrived, and the guests ate and danced joyfully. In the midst of the celebration, a hungry beggar entered the hall and stared at the banquet of scrumptious food. He pleaded for food, but no one noticed him.

Only the bride saw the poor man. She quietly took her plate of food and gave it to him. No one noticed her act of kindness, and no one realized that the bride herself had not eaten.

That evening, Rabbi Akiva’s daughter retreated to her room. She removed the large gold pin that had secured her veil and stuck it in a crack between the tiles of the wall.

The bride awoke the next morning and was shocked to find a dead snake stuck beneath her gold pin. The snake had been hiding, waiting to bite the bride. She had killed the snake unintentionally with her golden pin.

When Rabbi Akiva heard of the incident, he remembered the words of the pagan astrologers.

“Tell me, dear daughter, what special deed did you do yesterday to deserve G‑d’s mercy?”

His daughter recounted her act of kindness, and Rabbi Akiva exclaimed, “For the act of giving charity, G‑d spared your life! May you perform many more good deeds…”


It is when we become self-absorbed, whether in our own moments of joy or, G‑d forbid, sorrow, that we may forget to fulfill the needs of others. Rabbi Akiva’s daughter demonstrates that one must always be sensitive to another…

“We exist temporarily through what we take, but we live forever through what we give.”