Revach L'Neshama RSS feed for - Section: TANACH Category:SEFER EZRA Copyright 2007, Revach L'Neshama en-US Revach L'Neshama Logo 144 31 Wed, 01 Dec 2021 03:00:00 +0000 240 Ezra HaSofer - The Moshe Rabbeinu of the Oral Torah

Sefer Ezra begins during the seventy year era following the destruction of the first Beis Hamikdash by Nevuchadnetzer, king of Bavel. Nevuchadnetzer exiled the Jews to Bavel, and it was known through Yirmayahu's nevuah that Hashem had promised to redeem the Jews after seventy years. During these seventy years, Bavel had been conquered by Paras and Madai. During the reign of Coresh, the king of Paras, Yirmayhu's nevuah began to be fulfilled. Coresh announced to his kingdom that all the Jews should ascend to Yerushalayim and rebuild the Beis Hamikdash. The Jews who heeded this call were led by Zerubavel, Yeshua, Nechemia, and Mordechai Bilshan, among others. Mordechai Bilshan was Mordechai Hatzaddik who appears in the story of Esther. When the construction of the Beis Hamikdash was halted, Mordechai traveled to Paras to try to influence the king to allow the Jew to continue the construction of the Beis Hamikdah, which explains his presence in Paras during the story of Purim.

Ezra himself, the author of Sefer Ezra, and the most important leader of that era, was not included in the list of Jews who first heeded the call to ascend to Yerushalayim and rebuild the Beis Hamikdash. Where was he? The Gemara tells us that Ezra remained in Bavel to continue to learn under his teacher, the navi Baruch ben Neriah, who was too old and weak to undertake the trip to Eretz Yisrael. Ezra's decision to choose Torah learning over the construction of the Beis Hamikdash was symbolic of a new era in Jewish history.

The Gemara says that if Moshe Rabbeinu had not lived prior to Ezra, the Torah could have been transmitted through Ezra (Sanhedrin 21b). However, Ezra transmitted the Torah in his era - the Torah shebe'al peh. It was during this period that the Torah shebe'al peh and Torah sages emerged as the dominant spiritual force of Yiddishkeit.

The Shechina did not rest on the second Beis Hamikdash, and the remaining neviim gradually passed away, and the era of nevuah came to an end. The Anshei Knesses Gedolah, which was headed by Ezra, were aware that a new spiritual force was needed to replace nevuah in this new era. Torah study would have to be strengthened. The Anshei Knesses Gedolah davened that Hashem should allow them a deeper and broader clarity of Torah. Hashem granted their wish, and despite the loss of the Shechinah and nevuah, the era of the most expansive Torah wisdom commenced during the second Beis Hamikdash. Ezra led this new period of Torah history, and was the "Moshe Rabbeinu" of Torah shebe'al peh. This era of the dominance of Torah learning is still continuing today.

Ezra, who was a sofer and Kohen, spiritually strengthened Bnei Yisrael in other important ways as well. Unfortunately, many men of Bnei Yisrael had married non-Jews in Bavel, and even those Jews who ascended to Eretz Yisrael retained these marriages. When Ezra finally joined the Jews in Eretz Yisrael, he succeeded in dissolving these marriages, something the other leaders in Eretz Yisrael had not succeeded in doing. Ezra gathered Bnei Yisrael in Yerushalyim from all over Eretz Yisrael, and recited the Torah out loud. He said vidui for the sins of the people, and everybody cried together and resolved to adhere to the Torah. Ezra restored the purity of Am Yisrael, and strengthened them in the new era of the second Beis Hamikdash.

Mon, 05 Jan 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Ezra Part 21: Doing Teshuva

"And Ezra arose from the Beis Hamikdash, and he went to the chamber of Yochanan ben Elyashiv, but he did not eat bread or drink water because he was mourning over the transgression of the exile."
The fast had ended, but Ezra's mourning over the sins of the nation was so intense that he was unable to eat or drink.
"And a call went out in Yehuda and Yerushalayim to all of the golah to gather in Yerushalayim.  And whoever did not appear after three days, like the counsel of the officers and elders, will have all his possessions destroyed, and he will be separated from the golah."
The men of Bnei Yisroel gathered to Yerushalayim within three days on the twentieth day of the month of Kislev.  They all sat in the courtyard in front of the Beis Hamikdash, trembling both from fear due to their sins, and the rainy and cold weather. Ezra then arose and addressed Bnei Yisroel, reminding them of their transgression of taking foreign wives, and imploring them to do teshuva, and evict the foreign wives and children.
"The entire congregation answered and said in a loud voice, 'True, we must do as you say.  But there are many people, and it is the rainy season and it's difficult to remain outside, and the matter is not of one or two days, because we have greatly sinned in this matter."
Bnei Yisroel agreed to do teshuva and evict the foreigners, but practical matters made it impossible to carry out the eviction immediately.  Only a small percentage of Bnei Yisroel had intermarried, but nevertheless, there were too many people involved to carry out the eviction in one or two days.
"The officers should remain for the entire congregation, and everybody in our cities who kept foreign wives will come at set times, accompanied by the elders and judges of each city, until the anger of our G-d will subside from us, until this matter."

Ezra, and the other leaders of Bnei Yisroel remained in Yerushalayim to supervise the eviction of the foreign wives and children.  By the first of Nissan, they had finished rectifying the sins of Bnei Yisroel by investigating which wives were required to be evicted, and evicting them.   
               THE END

Sun, 06 Jul 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Ezra Part 20: An Oath of Tshuva

"As Ezra davened and confessed, crying and bowing before the Beis Hamikdash, a very large congregation of Yisrael gathered there, men, women and children.  The people cried copiously." 

The Malbim says that included in the crowd gathered around Ezra were the women whose husbands had taken non-Jewish wives, who were crying over their bitter circumstances.

"And Shechanya ben Yechiel of the sons of Elam said to Ezra, "We have transgressed against our G-d, and have taken foreign women of the nations of the land, and now there is hope for Yisrael about this."

Shechanya himself did not intermarry, but was taking responsibility for the small percentage of men who had actually sinned.  The men had sinned publicly, and the leaders of Bnei Yisrael did not protest, and therefore the intermarriages were considered a national transgression.  This was also due to the concept of "Arvus" - that all of Bnei Yisrael are interconnected, and are responsible for each other's deeds.

There was now renewed hope for Yisrael to eradicate these grave sins due to the arrival of Ezra.  Ezra had been granted power by the king to officially enforce Torah law among Bnei Yisrael, so he and the other leaders of Bnei Yisrael could now force the sinners to send away their non-Jewish wives and children.

"And now we will make a bris with our G-d to evict all the women and those born from them, according to the counsel of Hashem, and the chareidim in the mitzvos of our G-d.  Let it be done according to the Torah. And Ezra arose and instructed the sarei kohanim, leviim and all of Yisrael to swear to fulfill this matter, and they swore."

 Bnei Yisrael entered a bris by swearing to evict the foreign wives and children.  Ezra and the other leaders had initiated this oath because of their awareness that there would be much opposition to the eviction of the foreign wives and children.  The leaders had determined that the consequences which were sanctioned by the Torah would not be enough to force Bnei Yirael to carry out the eviction.  However, once Bnei Yisrael took an oath as a nation to evict the non-Jews, this reflected the will of the entire nation.  The expression of the will of the entire nation endowed the klal with the power of a Jewish king, who is a reflection of the Jewish nation.  Jewish kings have the power to enforce severe punishments, including the death penalty.  The klal, who had taken an oath to evict the non-Jewish wives and children, now had kingly powers to enforce the eviction.

Fri, 04 Jul 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Ezra Part 19: Intermarriage & Assimilation in Eretz Yisroel

Ezra continues with his first person account of his arrival in Eretz Yisrael.
"When it was finished, the officers approached me, saying, ‘The people of Yisrael, and the Kohanim and Leviim have not separated themselves from the nations of the lands - like the abominations of the Cannani, the Chitti, the Perizi, the Yevusi, the Amoni, the Moavi, the Mitzri, and the Amori.  Because they have taken from their daughters for themselves and their sons, and the zera kodesh have been mixed with the nations of the lands, and the officers and the chiefs were involved in this sin first."
Four months after Ezra's arrival, the officers approached Ezra with the news of Bnei Yisrael's wrongdoing.  The word because in "because they have taken from their daughters" indicates that the reason that Bnei Yisrael were committing abominations like the goyim was because they had intermarried.  The Malbim says that the leaders of Bnei Yisrael did not actually intermarry, but were implicated and held guilty since they do not use their power and influence to condemn and prevent the sinful behavior of those who did. Only a small percentage of Bnei Yisrael had actually intermarried.
"When I heard this matter, I tore my garment and my coat, and I tore the hair from my head and beard, and I sat bewildered. And everyone who trembled at the exile's sin of the word of the G-d of Yisrael gathered to me, and I sat bewildered until the mincha of the evening."
Towards evening, Ezra arose from his fast, fell to his knees, spread out his palms to Hashem, and began davening in front of the crowd which had gathered.  He confessed the sins of Bnei Yisrael which began in the days of their forefathers, and caused them to be exiled from their land.   He admitted to Hashem's kindness in causing Bnei Yisrael to return to their land and rebuild the Beis Hamikdash, despite the fact that they were not worthy of Hashem's kindness.  He expressed his fear that due to the sins of Bnei Yisrael, they will be utterly destroyed unless they repent.  

"If we return to transgressing your mitzvohs and intermarrying with the nations of these abominations, will You not be angry at us, and destroy us without a remnant or refuge?
The sin of arayos will cause utter destruction of Bnei Yisrael if it is not properly rectified.

Sun, 29 Jun 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Ezra Part 18: The Perilous Journey Ends Safely

"And I called for a fast there, on the river Ahava, to fast before our G-d, to request from Him a safe journey for ourselves, and our babies, and all our possessions. For I had been ashamed to request from the king soldiers and horsemen to aid us from enemies along the way, because we had told the king that the hand of our G-d is on all those who seek Him for good, and His strength and anger are on all those who forsake Him.
Ezra refrained from asking the king for military protection on their trip only because the king was the under the impression that Hashem would protect them in a miraculous way. Actually, it would have been fitting to request soldiers and horsemen since it is not proper to depend on nissim.  However, due to the present circumstances Ezra requested special protection from Hashem.

"And we fasted and we requested Hashem on this, and He fulfilled our requests."

Rashi says that "He fulfilled our requests" means that they traveled to Yerushalayim peacefully. Other mefarshim say that they knew immediately that their requests were fulfilled, possibly through a nevuah to Ezra who may have been Malachi Hanavi.  The Malbim says Ezra knew instinctively that his tefillos had been answered, similarly to Rav Chanina ben Dosa, who knew when his tefillos were answered by the ease by which he said them. 
"And I separated twelve of the officers of the Kohanim, Sharavyah, Chashavya, and with them ten of their brothers. And I weighed out to them the silver, the gold, and the vessels, donations to the House of our G-d which were donated by the king and his advisors, and officers, and all of Yisrael who were there."
They were about to travel into the desert, where there was a possibility of attacks by bandits. Ezra appointed these men, who were strong warriors, as their protectors, and the protectors of the valuables along the way.

"And we traveled from the river Ahava on the twelfth of the first month to go towards Yerushalayim.  And the hand of our G-d was on us, and He saved from the hands of enemies and bandits on the way. And we arrived in Yerushalayim, and stayed there for three days."

On the fourth day, the valuables that the travelers brought were weighed and given over to Meremos, the son of Uriah Hakohen, and their weight was recorded.  The newcomers then brought korbanos to Hashem.  These korbanos were not those listed by the Torah that were usually offered at the Beis Hamikdah, but were brought by an horaas shaah.
"They told over the king's decrees to the king's satraps and the governors of the Trans-River, and they raised the people and the House of Hashem."

Wed, 25 Jun 2008 03:00:00 +0000

Ezra now tells over the story of his return to Eretz Yisrael in first person. “These are the heads of the families and lineage of those who went up with me with me during the reign of King Artachshast from Bavel”  
 Each head of a household possessed a ksav yichus which showed his lineage up to one of the shevatim.  In addition, everyone belonging to the family had a ksav yichus which showed their relationship with the family.   

King Artachshast refers to Daryavesh, the king of Paras.  Despite the Persian rule, most Jews still lived in Bavel, where they had originally settled when they were exiled from Eretz Yisrael.  
“I gathered them at the river flowing into the Ahava (river), and we camped there for three days.  And I examined the people and the Kohanim, and I did not find Leviim there.”
Leviim had previously moved to Eretz Yisrael when Bnei Yisrael ascended to rebuild the Beis Hamikdash during the reign of Coresh, so why was Ezra concerned that there were no Leviim traveling with him?  Rashi says that when the Bavlim had exiled Bnei Yisrael to Bavel after destroying the first Beis Hamikdash, they commanded the Leviim to sing “songs of Tzion” to entertain them.  Rather than complying with the order, the Leviim cut off their own thumbs, rendering them incapable of playing their musical instruments.  Many years later, when these Leviim ascended to Eretz Yisrael, they were not fit to serve in the Beis Hamikdash due to their amputated thumbs.  Ezra was now seeking Leviim who were fit for avodah.    

Other mefarshim disagree, and say that Leviim who were fit for avodah were already in Eretz Yisrael, but Ezra wanted additional Leviim to accompany him on the journey.     

Ezra sent a group of prominent members of Bnei Yisrael who were accompanying him back to Bavel to try to convince Leviim to join them on their trip.  They were successful, and the group brought back both Leviim and Nesinim, who were the servants of the Leviim.  The Nesinim were the Givonim who were one of the seven nations that originally lived in Eretz Yisrael before Bnei Yisrael conquered it.  They had duped Bnei Yisrael into making a peace agreement with them, and they were relegated to becoming servants –wood choppers and drawers of water.  They were called Nesinim since they were given to the Leviim to aid them in the service of the Beis Hamidash.

Sun, 22 Jun 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Ezra Part 16: Was Ezra Really A Sofer? "This is the text of the letter which King Artachshast gave to Ezra the Kohen, the sofer, the sofar of the mitzvos of Hashem and His laws, about Yisrael."
The Malbim says that the term sofer attributed to Ezra is not associated with safrus.  Rather, he was called a sofer because he counted the letters of the Torah- ascertaining that the Torah was recorded precisely and accurately.  He also counted the words of all the kisvei kodesh, and corrected any errors.   He clarified the oral Torah as well
Other mefarshim interpret the word sofer as scholar, as Ezra was the ultimate scholar of the Torah.
"Artachshast, king of kings, to Ezra the Kohen, scholar of the Torah of the G-d of, Heaven.  At this time. I decree that anyone volunteering in my kingdom to travel to Yerushalayim, from Yisrael, Kohanim and Leviim may escort you."
Coresh's initial decree granting permission to Bnei Yisrael to ascend to Yerushalayim was for the purpose of building the Bais Hamikdash.  Now that the Beis Hamikdash had been completed, the decree was no longer binding, and the Jews were not allowed to leave the kingdom without permission.  Therefore, Daryavesh now issued a new decree granting permission to Bnei Yisrael to accompany Ezra to Eretz Yisrael.
"You have been sent by the king and his seven advisors for this reason, to test the Jews and Yerushalayim on the Torah of your G-d which is in your hands. And to transfer the silver and gold which the king and his advisors have donated to the G-d of Yisrael, whose dwelling place is in Yerushalayim. And all the silver and gold which you will find in the entire province of Bavel, together with donations which the people and the Kohanim donated to the House of their G-d in Yerushalayim."
There were three classifications of money - 1) The money which the king and his advisors donated. 2) The money which the non-Jews throughout the kingdom donated.  2) The money which Bnei Yisrael donated.  Daryavesh appointed Ezra as the agent to transfer the considerable amount of gold and silver to Yerushalayim, and for that purpose, Ezra required the escort of a large group of Bnei Yisrael on his journey to help guard the valuables.
Daryavesh decreed that Bnei Yisrael can use the money for supplies for korbanos, and for whatever else they required for their service of Hashem.  He also included in his decree that all the treasurers of the Trans-River should grant Ezra whatever he requests as quickly as possible.
"Everything commanded by the G-d of Heaven shall be fulfilled by the king's seal, for the House of Hashem, for why should anger affect the kingdom and his children?"           
The avoidance of Hashem's anger towards his malchus was the motivation for all of Daryavesh's decrees.
"And you, Ezra, according to your chachmas Elokim, greater than the judges and magistrates who judge all the people of the Trans-River, for all those who are knowledgeable in your G-d's Torah -teach those who do now know. And anyone who does not fulfill your G-d's Torah and the king's laws will be swiftly punished -executed, excommunicated, will lose property, or be imprisoned."
Daryavesh granted Ezra the power to appoint judges who will judge the nation according to din Torah, and he granted the judges power to enforce the das of Hashem.
 "Blessed is Hashem, the G-d of our fathers, who caused the heart of the king to glorify the House of Hashem in Yerushalayim.  And He turned to me the kindness of the king and his advisors, and all of the king's influential officers.  And I strengthened myself , with the help of Hashem, my G-d, and I gathered leaders from Yisrael to ascend with me."
Ezra expresses thanksgiving to Hashem for orchestrating the support of the Beis Hamikdash and of him personally, through Daryavesh.

Wed, 18 Jun 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Ezra Part 15: Ezra Finally Comes To Eretz Yisroel Ezra now ascended to Eretz Yisroel, after his Rebbi, Baruch ben Neriah, passed away.  We learn from this that Torah study is more important than the building of the Beis Hamikdash.

The Malbim quotes the Medrash, “Shimon Hatzaddik said, ‘On three things the world stands –on Torah, on avodah, and on gemillus chassadim.’  In the days of the Anshei Knesses Gedolah, these three pillars were personified by certain leaders of that era.  Zerubavel and Yehoshua the Kohen Gadol led the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash, which established the pillar of avodah.  Ezra Hasofer then emerged to establish the pillar of Torah, and Nechemia established the pillar of gemillus chassadim by strengthening the walls of Yerushalayim and engaging in communal work. 
“This Ezra went up from Bavel.  He was a gifted scholar of the Torah of Moshe which Hashem the G-d of Yisroel had given.  The king granted his every request as the hashgacha of Hashem, his G-d, watched over him.”

Ezra was graced with a special hashgacha and protection from Hashem, which enabled his every request to be granted by the king.  He was granted this special protection since he was the one who ensured that the Torah would not be forgotten from Yisroel.  When he entered Eretz Yisroel, he organized Torah study within the land, and ensured that Bnei Israel would live up to the Torah’s laws. 
Rashi maintains that Ezra was a Navi, and he was instructed by Hashem to request help from the king to spread Torah in Yisroel.  Chazal say that Ezra was the Navi Malachi, who had rebuked the men in Bnei Yisroel for marrying non-Jewish wives.  This rebuke was also attributed to Ezra, and the Gemara concludes that Ezra was actually Malachi.   

“For Ezra prepared his heart to seek Hashem’s Torah, and to fulfill it and teach its laws and statutes in Yisroel.”

Ezra was zocheh to Hashem’s special hashgacha because he “prepared his heart to seek Hashem’s Torah.” (Rashi) 

The Gemara learns out from this pasuk that that Ezra would have been worthy of giving over the Torah to Bnei Yisroel if he had lived in that generation.  The words “to teach laws and statutes” were attributed to both Moshe Rabbeinu and Ezra.     

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 03:00:00 +0000 “Then Tatnai, satrap of the Trans-River, Shesar Boznai and their cohorts acted speedily in light of King Daryavash’s message.”

“And the Jewish elders built and succeeded, as told in nevuah by Chaggai the navi, and Zecharia ben Ido.  They built and founded by the instruction of the G-d of Yisrael, and with the permission of Coresh and Daryavash Artachshast the king of Paras.”

Hashgachas Hashem caused Coresh and Daryavesh to allow Bnei Yisrael to rebuild the Beis Hamikdash.  It was rebuilt through hashgacha obscured by nature, unlike the first Beis Hamikdash, which had been built through open miracles.  The Gemara (Brachos 4a) says that the generation of Ezra could also have been redeemed through open miracles, but ultimately they were not worthy to it because of the sins they committed.

 “This House was completed on the third day of the month of Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Daryavesh.”

The construction of the second Beis Hamikdash lasted for four and a half years.

“Then Bnei Yisrael, the Kohanim, the Leviim, and the rest of the Bnei Galus celebrated the Chanukah of this House of Hashem with joy.”

The word “this” teaches us that Bnei Yisrael were anticipating a different chanukas habayis.  If they had been worthy, the time of the final geulah would have arrived, and immediately after this Chanukah, the third Beis Hamikdash would have descended from the Shamayim, and they would have begun another Chanukah, as discussed in Yechezkel.  
The pasuk emphasizes that they celebrated “with joy” to emphasize that despite the fact that the chanukah was celebrated during Purim, which is a time of mishteh and simcha, the ikar of their joy was for the Chanukas Hamikdash which was greater than the simcha of Purim.  
Bnei Yisrael then offered korbanos for the chanukas Beis Hamikdash.  These korbanos were not according to those listed in the Torah, but were brought by a horaas shah through the neviim.  The Kohanim and Leviim were then organized into groups according to the avodah they would perform.  The kohanim were divided into twenty-four mishmaros, each to serve in the Beis Hamikdash for one week.  Each mishmar was then divided into seven families, each one serving on a different day.  The particular avodah they would do was chosen through lottery.  
The Leviim were divided in a similar way, but the Leviim were divided even further than the Kohanim.  Each Levi was assigned specific avodah for each day, and it was not assigned by lots.  Bnei Yisrael then brought the korban Pesach, and joyfully celebrated Pesach together.

Wed, 11 Jun 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Ezra Part 13: Daryavesh Knows Who Butters His Bread “King Daryavesh then issued a decree, and they searched in the library where the archives were in Bavel.  And they found in a box in the capital in the land of Madai, and the following was written in it.”

The royal city was originally in Bavel, and the royal archives were stored there, including the letter, which Coresh sent about the Beis Hamikdash.  When Achashverosh was king, he moved the royal throne to Shushan, and this letter was then lost.  (It’s also possible that Haman destroyed the letter since it was good for the Jews.)  It was hashgachas Hashem that this letter was now found in Madai, the current capital.    

“In the first year of King Coresh, King Coresh put forth a decree: The House of Hashem should be built in Yerushalayim, a site for the offering of sacrifices, with foundations, its height sixty cubits, and its width sixty cubits.
Hashgachas Hashem is again apparent since the dimensions which Coresh permitted were the exact dimensions with which the builders were instructed by the neviim.  The Ibn Ezra comments that the Second Beis Hamikdash was larger than the first, which was twenty cubits wide and thirty cubits high.  

“Three rows of marble and one of new wood, and the funding of the building will be from the house of the king.  Also, the gold and silver vessels of the House of Hashem –which Nevuchadnetzer took from the Heichel in Yerushalayim and brought to Bavel – should be given over and brought to the Heichel in Yerushalayim, to their place, and should remain in the House of Hashem."  
Chazal says that the king required a row of wood to be added to the walls to insure they would be flammable in case of rebellion.  Rashi says that the walls of the first Beis Hamikdash were also constructed of three rows of marble and one of wood.  

“Now Tatnai, satrap of the Trans-River, Shesar Boznai, and their cohorts, the Apharsechites of the Trans-River, stay far from the site.”

This was the original decree of Coresh, who commanded that the surrounding nations should not deter Bnei Yisrael from building the Beis Hamikdash, and Daryavash added an additional stipulation…

“I decree that your actions with the Jewish elders are sanctioned – to build this House of Hashem; it should be funded from the kingdom, from the Trans-River taxes, and be quickly completed.”

Coresh decreed that the neighbors of Bnei Yisrael must not only refrain from bothering them, but must aid them as well.  Coresh decreed that the construction would be funded by the palace, and Daryavash added that it should be funded from the Trans-River taxes immediately, so they shouldn’t be disrupted from their work due to a lack of funding.  He also decreed that all expenses needed for korbanos and the avodas Bais Hamikdash should be should be given to them daily according to the instructions of the Kohanim.  This specification was also not included in the instructions of Coresh.

“In order that they offer pleasing korbanos to the G-d of Heaven, and pray for the lives of the king and his sons. I decree that anyone who will change anything will have the beams uprooted from his house , and a gallows will be made for him, and his house will be a dunghill.”

Daryavash revealed his ulterior motives in supporting the building of the Bais Hamikdash.  

“And the G-d who rests there should destroy any king or people who ruin this House of G-d in Yerushalayim; I, Daryavash have decreed that this take effect speedily.”

Tatnai and his friends were to inform the public of the king’s decree immediately, and the reconstruction of the Bais Hamikdash should also be completed quickly.  The call for speediness was the initative of Daryavash alone; it was not part of Coresh’s decree.  

Sun, 25 May 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Ezra Part 12: A Letter To The King Tatnai and his friends wrote to Daryavash as follows:  “To King Daryavesh, all peace.  Let the king be informed that we have visited the region of Yehudah, at the House of the Great God; it is being constructed of marble, the walls strengthened with wood.  This work had advanced quickly and successfully.  Then we inquired of the elders, “Who sent forth a decree to build this House and found these walls?  We also asked for their names in order to inform you and document the names of their leaders.”

They informed Daryavesh that Bnei Yisrael were not building a fortress by mentioning that the walls were strengthened with wood, since wood is flammable and would not be added to a fortress.  They also informed Daryavesh that the nations surrounding Bnei Yisrael were not deterring them from their construction because they had no suspicion of rebellion or evil intentions.  This was hinted at by, “the work had advanced quickly and successfully.”

“They (the elders of Bnei Yisrael) replied to us, “We are the servants of the G-d of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding a House built many years ago – a great king of Yisrael built and established it.  But now, because our forefathers caused the anger of the G-d of Heaven, He gave them over to Nevuchadnetzer, the king of Bavel, the Chaldean, who destroyed the House and exiled the people to Bavel.  In the first year of Coresh, king of Bavel, Coresh decreed that the House of Hashem be rebuilt.”
The Beis Hamikdash had been destroyed only because of the sins of their forefathers.  Now that their sins had been atoned through exile, the time has arrived to rebuild the Beis Hamikdash.
Additionally, the gold and silver vessels of the House of Hashem, which Nevuchadnetzer had taken from the Heichal in Yerushalayim and brought with him to the temple in Bavel, King Coresh removed them from the temple in Bavel and gave them to Sheshbatzar, who was appointed satrap.  And he said to him, “Take these vessels and place them in the Heichel in Yerushalayim, and let the House of Hashem be built in its place.  Sheshbatzar then established the walls of Hashem’s Temple in Yerushalayim, but since then it had been built without being completed.  

According to Rashi, Sheshbatzar was Daniel; other commentators maintain that it was Zerubavel.  The fact that Zerubavel now held these vessels in his possession proved the veracity of his words.  They also emphasized that Zerubavel had been appointed satrap by the king, since an official of the king would not act without the king’s permission.

“Now if it finds favor with the King, an investigation should be made of the royal archives in Bavel to clarify if King Coresh decreed that this House of G-d in Yerushalayim be built, and the King should let his will known about the matter.”

Wed, 21 May 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Ezra Part 11: Same Obstructionists, Different Results “And the neviim, Chaggai the navi, and Zecharia, the son of Ido prophesized to the Jews who were in Yehudah and Yerushalayim in the name of the G-d of Yisrael to them.”

Rashi says that Chaggai and Zecharia prophesized that Bnei Yisrael should finish rebuilding the Beis Hamikdash despite the lack of official sanction from Daryavesh.  It was the second year of the reign of Daryavesh and seventy years had passed since the destruction of Yerushalayim.  

“Zerubavel ben Shaltiel and Yeshua ben Yotzadok then arose and began building the House of Hashem in Yerushalayim, together with and aided by the neviim of Hashem.”

“At that time, Tatnai, satrap of the Trans-River, Shtethar Bozenai, and their cohorts approached them and said, “Who decreed that you should build this House and complete these walls?”
The Malbim says that hashgachas Hashem protected them from their enemies who had interfered with the building the first time.  Tatnai was not their enemy, but was merely inquiring who had given them permission to rebuild the Beis Hamikdash.  The reshus of Coresh had been forgotten by that time.
However, Rashi maintains that Tatnai, Shethar Bozenai and their cohorts were the same enemies who had disrupted the building the first time.  They now reappeared when they heard that Bnei Yisrael had started building again, and they intended to interfere once again.     
Bnei Yisrael then told Tatnai that they were building under the instruction of Zerubavel and Yeshua.  Zerubavel, who was an appointed official of the king, was able to explain their justification for beginning to build again.  Tatnai and his cohorts then wrote a letter to Daryavesh accounting what they had witnessed, and their discussion with Zerubavel.  Hashgachas Hashem protected Bnei Yisrael, and Tatnai, who had the power to detain the building until an answer to their letter arrived from Daryavesh, did not prevent them from continuing to build the Beis Hamikdash.

Sun, 18 May 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Ezra Part 10: The Work Grounds To A Halt When Coresh received the libelous letter, it didn’t even occur to him that he should investigate the truth of these claims.  He never dreamed that so many nations would sign their names to something so openly false, and that his appointed translators would deceptively translate the letter.  Instead, he did as the letter suggested, and researched the history of the Jews’ allegiance to their kings.  He then sent a letter to Rechum and Shimshi that they should immediately halt the Jews from rebuilding the city of Yerushalayim.

“Now issue a decree halting these people; this city shall not be built until a decree is issued by me”

Coresh did not wish to stop the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash, which anyway could not be retracted according to Persian law.  He merely was ordering that the supposed rebuilding of Yerushalayim be halted.  

“Then, when the copy of King Coresh’s letter was read before Rechum, Shimshi the scribe, and their companions, they went in haste to Jerusalem to the Jews, and halted them with force and power.”

Rechum and Shimshi intentionally “misunderstood” the king’s directives.  They immediately took action to stop the Jews from continuing to rebuild the Beis Hamikdash.  After translating the king’s letter from Persian to Aramaic, they added their own words to the Aramaic copy of the letter, ordering the halting of the building of the Beis Hamikdash.  

“Then the work of the Temple of G-d in Jerusalem was discontinued; the disruption lasting until the second year of the reign of Daryavesh, king of Paras.”

Coresh died, and was succeeded by Achashverosh.  Achashverosh was succeeded by his son Daryavesh.  The second year of Daryavesh’s reign was seventy years after the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash and eighteen years after Bnei Yisrael’s initial attempt to rebuild the Beis Hamikdash.  Daryavesh then granted Bnei Yisrael permission to again rebuild the Beis Hamikdash, and this time Bnei Yisrael successfully completed the rebuilding.

Wed, 14 May 2008 03:00:00 +0000 “And in the days of Artachshasta, Bishlam, Misredas, Taval, and the rest of his cohorts wrote to Artachshasta the king of Paras, and the original letter was in Aramaic writing and Aramaic language.”
 Artachshasta was a royal name which was given to every king of Paras, and it is actually referring to Coresh (Rashi).  Some say that Artachshasta was actually a different name, and that the building of the Beis Hamikdash was not halted until after the death of Coresh.  
The Malbim comments that Coresh himself ordered that the Beis Hamikdash be rebuilt and claimed that Hashem Himself inspired him to do it.  How could he have revoked his order so shortly afterwards?  In addition, the laws of Paras and Madai did not allow an order written in the name of the king to simply be retracted (as well known from the story of Purim).  
In addition, the letter claiming that the Jews were building and fortifying the walls of Yerushalayim was pure fabrication.  How could they have dared to tell such brazen lies?  Coresh could have easily investigated the matter, and would have severely punished anyone caught lying.    The answer was that it was all accomplished through deception and bribery.  
The kingdom of Paras was such a huge expansive kingdom, and it included many different nations speaking twenty one different languages.  The law was that anyone who wanted to write to the king would write in his language.  There were two translators appointed by the king who received all the letters from all over the kingdom.  They would then translate the letters into the Persian language and script and send them to the king.  The answer of the king (written in Persian) would then be sent these two translators, who then translated the answers into the language and script of the writer. The officials appointed in Syria were Rachum Bal Taam, who translated the letters, and Shimshi (Haman’s son) who was a sofer and copied the letters into Persian from Aramaic.  
The Kutim accomplished their evil plans by reporting to Coresh that the Jews were building the Bais Hamikdash.  However, they wrote this information in an ambiguous way – in a way in which it could be interpreted that the Jews were actually rebuilding the walls of Yerushalayim.    When Rachum and Shimshi translated the letter, they utilized the deceptive interpretation.  In this way, the writers of the letter could not be punished since they could claim that they intended the first interpretation.  The translators would also not be culpable since they could claim that they mistakenly misunderstood the letter.
They also warned the king that the Jews will no longer pay taxes to the king if they accomplish their plan of rebuilding Yerushalayim.  They advised the king to research the history of the Jews to discover the Jews’ history of rebellion against their kings.  They further warned the king that the Jews’ rebellion will have serious consequences for the entire area of the Trans-River.    
It was the law of the land that the two officials who translated the letter wrote their names on the head of the letter, and afterwards they wrote the names of the original writers of the letter.  Rachum and Shimshi included the names of all the nations living in Eretz Yisrael so that the king would gain the impression that there was unanimous
agreement about this serious issue.  There is another view that Mithredath actually gathered signatures from local cities to allow him to make his request in their name.  Ultimately, a deceptive letter with false accusations against the Jews with the signatures of all the nations and cities of the entire area was sent off to the king.  

Mon, 12 May 2008 03:00:00 +0000 “And the enemies of Yehudah and Binyamin heard that the people of the exile were building a Heichel for Hashem, the G-d of Yisrael.”

Rashi says that these enemies were nations which Sancheriv, the king of Ashur, had resettled in Eretz Yisrael almost two hundred years earlier.  The Gemara calls them Kutim because some of them originally lived in a land called Kuta.  The Kutim now approached Zerubavel and requested to build the Beis Hamikdash together with Bnei Yisrael, claiming that they served the same G-d as Bnei Yisrael.  The Kutim did consider Hashem as the Kal Elyon, but they also served avodah zara.  Rashi says that the Kutim did not have sincere intentions from the start, and their sole intention was to interfere with the rebuilding of the Bais Hamikdash.  This explains why the possuk calls them “enemies” despite their originally peaceful request.

The Jewish leaders informed the Kutim that it would not be possible for them to share in the avodas Hashem of Bnei Yisrael and help build the Beis Hamikdash.  Bnei Yisrael, who alone are supervised by Hashem with direct hashgachas pratis without a middleman, are the only ones who are spiritually fit to build a Beis Hamikdash.
The leaders also informed the Kutim that their request could not be fulfilled for political reasons as well.   Coresh had specifically commanded that the Beis Hamikdash will be only for Yisrael, and not a general place of prayer for all of the nations.  

“And the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah and made them fearful of building.”

The interference of the Kutim not only caused Bnei Yisrael to be fearful of continuing to build, but it also caused their initial excitement about rebuilding the Beis Hamikdash to wane.      

“And they employed advisors against them to interfere with their plans, all the days of Coresh, the king of Persia, until the reign of Daryavesh, the king of Persia.”

The Kutim began scheming how to bring the building of the Beis Hamikdash to a halt.  They hired advisors to aid them with their diabolical plans, who advised them to write a libelous letter to Coresh about Bnei Yisrael.  The passuk says that they wrote the letter during the reign of Acheshverosh.  In fact, one opinion holds that those who wrote the libelous letter were the ten sons of Haman.  When Haman rose to power, he ascertained that the building of the Beis Hamikdash, which had been halted, would not continue.  He even traveled to Yerushalayim for this purpose.  
Ultimately, they succeeded in bringing the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash to an end, through the reigns of Coresh, Achashverosh, and until the second year of the reign of Daryavesh.

Wed, 07 May 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Ezra Part 7: The New Bais HaMikdash - Some Rejoice, Some Cry “And they raised their voices in hallel and thanks to Hashem, for He is good, because His goodness towards Yisrael is forever.  And all the people shouted in praise to Hashem for the laying of the foundation of the House of Hashem.”

Hallel is praising the Creator, and thanks is gratitude for His goodness.  “For He is good” refers to hallel - that He is goodness in itself, and “because His goodness is forever” refers to thanks. 

The possuk says “all the people” shouted in praise because not everybody was able to express thanks.  Many people, who had seen the first Beis Hamikdash, were crying.

 “And many of the Kohanim, Leviim, and heads of the families, the elders who had seen the first House on its foundation, cried loudly when the saw this House, and many raised their voices to shout in happiness.”

Those who had see the first Beis Hamikdash in its glory could not hold back their tears when they saw the second Beis Hamikdash, which could not compare to the first.  However, the younger people who were present rejoiced at the sight.  Rashi says that their joy was due to their freedom from exile.

The Malbim says that many were crying because they understood that the Beis Hamikdash was built only with permission of Coresh, and according to his qualifications, which limited the size of the building.  However, others rejoiced that the kedushah of Eretz Yisrael would now be everlasting.  Originally, when Bnei Yisrael conquered their enemies and entered Eretz Yisrael in the days of Yehoshua, the land acquired kedusha through their conquest.  When Eretz Yisrael was conquered during of the days of the first Churban, the conquest of Bnei Yisrael was annulled, and its kedusha was annulled.  Presently, during the days of Ezra, the kedusha of Eretz Yisrael was acquired through chezka, which is everlasting and cannot be annulled.
“And the people could not distinguish the voice of the happy shouting from the voice of the weeping of the people, because the people blew the trumpet, and the uproar was heard from a distance.”

Rashi says that the sound of rejoicing was not heard because of the louder sound of the crying.  The Malbim says that the noise of the crying and the rejoicing were both not heard due to the blowing of the shofros, which were heard from afar, and silenced all other sounds. 

Sun, 04 May 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Ezra Part 6: Building the Bais HaMikdash - Not Your Ordinary Construction Site “And they gave silver to the woodcutters and carpenters, and food and drink and oil to the Tzidonim and the Tzorim, to bring the cedar wood from Lebanon to the sea of Yaffo, as permitted for them by Coresh, the king of Paras.”

The trees of Lebanon were the property of the king, and his permission was needed to transport them to Eretz Yisrael.  However, the payment was for the transport alone, since the trees were a gift from Coresh, as he had promised to fund the building of the Beis Hamikdash.

“In the second year of their arrived at the House of Hashem in Yerushalayim, in the second month, Zerubavel ben Shealtial, Yeshua ben Yotzadak, and the rest of their brothers, the Kohanim, and the Leviim began, and all those who came from the captivity to Yerushalayim.  They placed the Leviim aged twenty and older to sing during the work of the House of Hashem.”

The second month was Iyar.  The Leviim sang shira while Bnei Yisrael laid the foundation of the Beis Hamikdash.    
“And Yeshua and his sons stood, and his sons, and his brothers, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Yehudah, as one, to supervise the workers in the House of Hashem, and the sons of Chanadad, their sons and their brothers – the Leviim.”

 It mentions the sons of Yehudah to differentiate him from one of the sons of Chanadad who was also named  Kadmiel.
 “And the builders laid the foundation of the Heichel of Hashem, and they positioned kohanim, dressed, with trumpets, and the Leviim, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals to praise Hashem through Dovid, the King of Israel.”
The Malbim quotes Rashi who says that when the possuk says the kohanim were “dressed” it means that they were clad in clothes of honor, since it was obvious they were dressed.  According to the Raavad, the kohanim were dressed in bigdei kehuna.  The Rambam holds that the kohanim were prohibited from wearing bigdei kehuna unless they were bringing korbanos.  The Malbim says that the kohanim had dressed in the bigdei kehuna that morning to bring korbanos, and were allowed to continue wearing them afterwards, and therefore even according to the Rambam, they were wearing bigdei kehuna while blowing the trumpets.    

Normally, the kohanim only blew trumpets on a Moad, and this occasion was a horaas shaa (a decree of the hour).  In their great happiness they considered the day as a moad.  “Through Dovid” means with songs and praised which Dovid authored.

Mon, 28 Apr 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Ezra Part 5: The Courage to Sacrifice “And the seventh month arrived, and Bnei Yisrael were in the cities, and the people gathered as one man to Yerushalayim.”  “And Yeshua ben Yotzadak arose, and his brothers, the Kohanim, and Zerubavel ben Shealtial and his brothers.  And they built the mizbeach of the G-d of Yisrael to bring olos on it, as it is written in Torah of Moshe, the man of G-d.”
This was Tishrei.  Bnei Yisrael gathered to observe Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Succos. Yotzadak, who was the brother of Ezra had been the last Kohen Gadol during the first Beis Hamikdah.  His son, Yeshua, served as the Kohen Gadol during the second Beis Hamikdash.  
When Bnei Yisrael were scattered throughout Eretz Yisrael, they hesitated to establish the mizbeach because they were fearful of the non-Jews.  When they gathered together in Tishrei, they felt the “safety of numbers” and built the mizbeach. Three neviim had gone up with them from the golah, Chagai, Zecharya, and Malachi, and one testified to the exact location of the mizbeach.

 “They celebrated the Chag of Succos as it is written, “The olos each, its number, according to the law of each day.  And afterwards, the olas tamid, for Roshei Chodeshim, and all of the sanctified moadei Hashem, and for everyone who donated a donation to Hashem.”  

Afterwards refers only to that Pesach and Shavuos, since subsequently the king canceled his permission, and the offering of korbanos ceased.

"From the first day of the seventh month, they began to bring up olos to Hashem, but the heichel of Hashem was not yet founded.”

Normally, it is forbidden to bring korbanos outside the Bais Hamikdah.  However, one of the neviim who came up from Bavel testified that the korbanos could be brought on the mizbeach which was placed in the exact site it was during the first Beis Hamikdash, despite the fact that the Beis Hamikdash was not yet rebuilt.  

Sun, 13 Apr 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Ezra Part 4: Who Were The Returnees

“These are the children of the land ascending from the captivity of the exile which Nevuchadnetzer, the king of Bavel exiled to Bavel, and they returned to Yerushalayim and Yehudah, each man to his city.”

This account of the Jews returning to Eretz Yisrael is cited also in Sefer Nechemia, but with many changes.  The explanation to the repetition is that this account is speaking about important Jews who ascended to Eretz Yisrael from Bavel itself.  In the galus of Yechanya, Nevuchadnetzer had exiled the leaders and the esteemed members of Bnei Yisrael, and exiled them to the royal city of Bavel.  During the exile of Tzidkiyahu, Nevuchadnetzer exiled the commoners of Bnei Yisrael to the outskirts of Bavel because they were lowly in his eyes.  Their ascent to Yerushalayim is accounted in Nechemia.

The Malbim notes that the account in Nechemia says “they returned to Yerushalayim and to Yehudah.”  This account does not include the word “to” before Yehudah.  This is because the main intent of these esteemed members of Klal Yisrael was to ascend to Yerushalayim Ir Hakodesh and rebuild the Beis Hamikdash.  Once they reached Yerushalayim, they spread out to Yehudah.  However, the commoners’ main intent was to settle in Yehudah, and therefore “to” Yehudah is emphasized.  

“Those who had come with Zerubavel, Yeshua, Nechemiah, Seraya, Realaya, Mordechai Bilshan, Mispar Bigvai, Rechum, Baana; the number of the men of the people of Israel.”

Zerubavel was a descendant of Yehoyachin, and was an important leader of the Jews during the building of the second Beis Hamikdash.  The Gemara says that Zerubavel was Nechemia, and he was called Zerubavel since he was conceived in Bavel.  
Mordechai Bilshan is Mordechai of Mrgilas Esther.  He ascended to Eretz Yisrael at this time, but returned to Paras when the royal permission for the rebuilding of the Bais Hamikdash was retracted.  The Ralbag says that he returned to Paras to try to influence the king to change his mind and allow the Jews to continue rebuilding the Beis Hamikdash.  

“The children of Parosh, two thousand one hundred and seventy-two…..”

The perek continues to list those who ascended to Eretz Yisrael.  Some are listed by the name of their family, and others are listed by the name of their city.  Those who were members of large family clans, which may have members living in different cities, are listed as families.  Those who were part of large extended families are listed by city.

After listing all members of Yehudah and Binyamin, the possuk lists the Kohanim and Leviim, and specifies among the Leviim the singers, the gatekeepers, and the attendants of the kohanim.  The Gemara says that only four families of Kohanim out of the twenty-four families who served in the first Beis Hamikdash left the exile at this time and returned to Eretz Yisrael.  

“And these went up from Tel Melach, Tel Charsha, Kruv, Adan, Emar, and they were not able to tell of the house of their fathers and their children, if they were from Yisrael.”

These were people whose origins were unclear, and were possibly mamzeirim or actually non-Jews, and were therefore forbidden to marry into the community.    

“The whole community together was forty two thousand three hundred and sixty.”

This total is 13,000 more than those listed above.  The Malbim says that it listed by name only those who first came from Bavel, and the extra 13,000 are those who came later.     

“The Kohanim and the Leviim, and the people, and the singers, and the gatekeepers, and the attendants settled in their cities, and all of Yisrael in their cities.”

They did not settle in Yerushalayim upon their arrival because of their need to sow the fields to provide sustenance for themselves.  Also, they were not granted permission to rebuild the wall around Yerushalayim.  Instead, each group or family settled in the cities their ancestors had lived in previously.  The kohanim and leviim settled in the 48 cities of Leviim, and the Yisraelim settled in the cities of Yisrael.

Sun, 06 Apr 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Ezra Part 3: Preparing For the Trip To Eretz Yisroel "And the head of the families of Yehudah and Binyamin, and the Kohanim and Leviim arose - all whom Hashem had aroused to go up and to build the House of Hashem in Yerushalayim." 

They were inspired to go up to Yerushalayim on their own, and only then did they receive assistance from Hashem.  They were inspired in two ways - to ascend to Yerushalayim, which would require considerable effort on it own, and to rebuild the Beis Hamikdash when they arrived there. 

"And all those surrounding them strengthened their hand with silver vessels, gold, valuables, animals, and costly goods, besides all that was donated."   

The non-Jews provided financial assistance for the trip up to Yerushalayim as well as providing donations for the construction of the Beis Hamikdash. 

"And King Coresh took out the vessels of the House of Hashem which Nevuchadnetzer had removed from Yerushalayim, and he put them in the temple of his gods.  Coresh, the king of Paras had them removed by Misredus the treasurer, and he counted them to Sheshbatzar, the prince of Yehudah."  

The vessels had been in a temple of avodah zara, and were not fit for use in the Beis Hamikdash.  Therefore, Coresh removed them from the temple, and placed them in his treasury. This was an act of nullilification of the tumah contained within from its use with avodah zara.  He removed them from the domain of avodah zara to his own domain, and then removed them from his domain through his treasurer.

  Rashi says that the actions of Coresh were a fulfillment of the nevuah in Yirmiyahu (27: 21-22), "So said Hashem Tzvakos, the G-d of Israel, about the remaining vessels in the House of Hashem  and in the house of the king of Yehudah and in Yerushalayim.  They will be brought to Bavel, and they will be there until the day I remember them, the word of Hashem, and I will bring them up, and I will return them to this place." 

"This was their number, thirty gold utensils, one thousand silver utensils, twenty-nine knives, thirty gold bowls, four hundred and ten less important silver bowls, and a thousand other vessels. All of the gold and silver vessels were five thousand four hundred.  All were brought up by Sheshbazzar with the going up of the exile from Bavel to Yerushalayim."

In addition to returning the keilim which Nevuchadnetzer had taken, Coresh also donated additional vessels, and everything together equaled five thousand and four hundred.

Mon, 31 Mar 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Ezra Part 2: Coresh Grants Permission to Rebuild the Bais HaMikdash "And in the first year of Coresh, the king of Paras, to complete the word of Hashem from the mouth of Yirmiyah, Hashem awakened the spirit of Coresh, the king of Paras, and he sent out a proclamation throughout his kingdom, and also in writing, saying:"

The first year does not refer to his first year as king of Paras, but the first year of his reign over the malchus of Bavel, which he took over upon the death of Daryavesh of Madai, his father-in-law. (Ibn Ezra).  During that year, Coresh was inspired to allow the Jews to rebuild the Beis Hamikdash. The Malbim quotes Yosephus, who explains that Coresh had heard about the story of Daniel's interpretation of the writing on the wall for Belshatzar, and its almost immediate fulfillment that same night.  Coresh vowed to rebuild the Beis Hamikdash when he heard this miraculous story.  The Malbim also says that Coresh was aware of the nevuah of Yeshaya who prophesized on him that he would rebuild the Beis Hamikdash, and these words of Hashem awakened his spirit.

He issued the proclamation orally and in writing, because an oral proclamation can be changed, but a proclamation written in the name of the king cannot be canceled, according to the law of Madai and Paras (as explained in Esther and Daniel).
At a later date, Coresh revoked his permission to rebuild the Beis Hamikdash due to the libel of enemies of Bnei Yisrael.  However, the fact that the proclamation was in writing later proved to be a saving grace eighteen years later, when Daryavesh, the successor to Acheshverosh, allowed the construction to continue based on the written proclamation.

 "So says Coresh, the king of Paras, ‘Hashem, the G-d of Heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has commanded me to build Him a House in Yerushalayim which is in Yehudah."

Coresh attested to the fact that he believes that there is a G-d in Heaven who rules over everything with his acknowledgment that Hashem was the One who has given him power.   However, he called Him only the G-d of Heaven and not of the earth, because he believed that Hashem has given over the affairs of the earth to man, and does not interfere.

"Whoever is among you, from all of His people, may his G-d be with him to ascend to Yerushalayim which is in Yehudah, and build the House of Hashem, the G-d of Yisrael, He is the G-d Who is in Yerushalayim."

Coresh addressed his proclamation to all of the nations.  Coresh required the non-Jews to aid in the building of the Beis Hamikdash and to assist the Jews to return to Yerushalayim.  He deemed it the House of Hashem, the G-d of Yisrael, because this Beis Hamikdash will be for Bnei Yisrael only. In the future, the Beis Hamikdash will be a house of tefillah for all the nations, and it will not be called the House of Hashem, the G-d of Israel, specifically, because all the nations will serve Him there.  However, the time for this had not yet arrived.

 Coresh called Hashem the G-d who is in Yerushalayim because he believed that Hashem oversaw whatever occurred in Yerushalayim, but the operation of the rest of the world is given over in the hands of the system.
 "And all who remain in whichever place he lives, the people of his place should raise him with silver, and gold, and valuables, and animals, with the contribution for the House of Hashem in Yerushalayim."

Any Jews who don't set out to Yerushalayim, either because of poverty or lack of initiative, should be raised up, financially and morally, by the non-Jews.  The non-Jews should also contribute towards the construction of the Beis Hamikdash, and help any Jews who do not have the financial means to make a donation.   

Thu, 27 Mar 2008 03:00:00 +0000