Why were the five tannaim gathered at the home of Rebbe Akiva on the Seder night and not at home? Rebbe Eliezer himself praised those who stay home for Yom Tov rather than going away! Additionally, two of the others were Rebbe Akiva’s rebbeim, why would they be at his house? Why was he able to inspire an entire people?
Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik points out that Rebbe Akiva was a leading force in the attempt to gain freedom from Rome. The study of the Pesach story was not just a review of historical events, they were using it to guide them in their revolt.
See also: The Students of Rebbe Akiva – Saints or Sinners
Delivered at the OU Israel Center, April 16th, 2019, 11 Nisan 5779