Rabbi Akiva was a shepherd-turned-sage who flourished during the era of the destruction of the Second Temple. Encouraged by his wife, Rachel, and famous for teaching that “love your fellow as yourself” is the cardinal rule of the Torah, he left an indelible mark on Talmudic tradition, in which he and his students are often quoted. He died a martyr’s end at the hands of the Romans, whom he defied by teaching Torah in public.