My question is, the Gemara on 50A,B mentions that R'Akiva became wealthy for 6 sources. The Gemara says one of the sources was " from the wife on Turnus Rufus". The Ran adds that she converted and married R' Akiva.
My question is how could the Gadol Hador, Rabbi Akiva marry another woman after his first wife suffered for 24 years waiting for him. One of my fellow students thought that it would be such a "slap in the face" to R'Akiva's first wife. One answer we thought was maybe his first wife had died?
David Bain, Toronto, Ontario
Your suggestion is quite feasible, and it is very likely that his first wife had died.
However, it is worthwhile to keep in mind that we cannot judge the holy Tana'im with our values as every one of their actions had cosmic significance. In this vein, Seder ha'Doros cites from the Arizal that Rebbi Akiva represented Yakov Avinu ("Akiva" has the letters "Yakov"), and Rebbi Akiva's two wives represented Rachel (the name of his first wife) and Leah (who was supposed to marry Esav), the wives of Yakov. He also cites that Rebbi Akiva had the Shoresh Neshamah of Zimri and by marrying the converted wife of Turnus Rufus he rectified Zimri's sin with Kazbi (who was also a king's daughter).
The Rama from Pano in Gilgulei Neshamos says the same things and adds a few more insights.