The Zohar recounts the death of Rabbi Eliezer, the teacher and master of Rabbi Akiva. Rabbi Akiva was the teacher and master of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, the author of The Zohar. When a righteous soul departs this world, he reveals his greatest amount of Light and energy. This Light is the total accumulation of his spiritual accomplishments during his lifetime. In addition, the Light that Rabbi Eliezer was unable to reveal during his lifetime, also became manifest at the moment of his passing. Sadly, Rabbi Akiva was not present when his Master left this world. The grief Rabbi Akiva endured was twofold, first for the physical loss of Rabbi Eliezer, and second, for the potential volume of Light that would not be revealed to mankind. It is this unrevealed Light that gives the force of darkness a stronger hold on the world. Rabbi Akiva's pain was for the repercussions of this increased darkness and the suffering mankind would inevitably endure. Kabbalistically, the pain experienced by a devout person serves as a Vessel to draw Light, a counterbalance that arouses the positive energy of the Creator in our physical world.
All of our deeds and behavioral actions in this physical realm of existence, bear positive and negative repercussions, both personally and globally. By raising our consciousness towards the importance of positive deeds, and the potential of positive deeds left unfinished, this portion stimulates personal change in order to reveal greater spiritual Light. Our own vessel is expanded by connecting to Rabbi Akiva's pain for the lack of Light in our present world.