R' Elazar/Eliezer ben Shamua

His explanation for why he merited long life: Megillah 27b Rebbe said, "When we learned Torah by R' Elazar ben Shamua, six students would sit in the space of a cubit": Eruvin 53a
R' Yochanan said, "The early ones [a reference to R' Akiva or R' Elazar ben Shamua] had hearts like the entrance to the Temple's large hall, and the later ones [a reference to R' Elazar ben Shamua or R' Oshia Berebi (Berebi=leader of his generation)] like the entrance to the Temple's smaller hall, and ours are like the eye of a clothes-needle." Abayye added, "Our ability to understand is like that of a peg jammed into a small hole in a wall." Rava added, "Our minds' ability to understand is like a finger stabbing into thick wax." Rav Ashi added, "We forget as easily as a finger fits into a cistern's entrance.": Eruvin 53a

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