Once in city of Rome lived Jews who used to study Torah (Sacred Scripture) everyday. They all loved to study and cherish learning from Torah.
Roman authorities started to see learning of Jews as a threat and one day issued an order that – “No one is permitted to study Torah and anyone who is caught studying Torah would have to pay with his life..”
Rabbis and scholars were saddened by news and closed their study halls and hid their Torah’s. Except for one Rabbi who name was Rabbi Akiva.
Instead of obeying authorities order, he began to travel around and started visiting every home and urged people to study Torah again.
One day as he was walking through a village, another Rabbi stopped him and said to him, “You must not do this.. By doing this you are risking not only your life but also life of our people. If the authorities find out what you are doing, they will punish you severely and they will punish those who follow your advice.”
Rabbi Akiva replied, “I do not fear them..”
Another Rabbi said, “But you must be afraid…”
Listening to him Rabbi Akiva replied, “You speak foolish.. I will tell you a story that may help you understand.. come with me..”
Rabbi Akiva took him to a lake and started telling him story..
He said, “Once there was a fox who was walking along shore of a lake and there he saw a fish swimming his way through water. Seeing fish, it began to drool over it and thought of tricking fish..”
So it leaned toward fish and said – Why are you swimming so frantically?
Fish replied – We are swimming away to escape from a fisherman’s net.
Fox crouched down at the water’s edge and said – Come ashore and you will be safe from the nets. We will live with each other. I will teach you how to live onshore as my brothers and sisters.”
Seeing another Rabbi’s expression and questioned, “Do you think fish jumped out of water?”
Another Rabbi replied, “But… fish can’t live on land..”
Rabbi Akiva replied, “Exactly.. Fish in water was wise enough to ignore the sly invitation..”
Then he looked that Rabbi into his eyes and said, “We are not so foolish as you believe us to be. If we are in fear for our lives here in the water where we can live and breathe, imagine how terrible life would be for us on land where we cannot breathe.”
He replied, “I understand now..”
Rabbi Akiva asked him, “Ok.. tell me what have you learned..?”
“We fear our enemies here when we study the Torah but if we abandon our study, which gives us hope and life, we will be more fearful still.”, he replied.
After this two Rabbi’s walked together through villages and town and together they opened academies doors.