Ezra 3
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Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:

1  When the seventh month arrived—the Israelites being settled in their towns—the entire people assembled as one man in Yerushalayim.

va-yi-GA ha-KHO-desh ha-sh’-vee-EE uv-NAY yis-ra-AYL be-a-REEM va-yay-a-s’-FU ha-AM k’-EESH e-KHAD el y’-ru-sha-LA-im

א  וַיִּגַּע הַחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בֶּעָרִים וַיֵּאָסְפוּ הָעָם כְּאִישׁ אֶחָד אֶל־יְרוּשָׁלִָם׃

3:1   The entire people assembled as one man in Yerushalayim

This particular wording recalls the Revelation at Mount Sinai, in reference to which it says: “They [plural] encamped in the wilderness; and there Israel [singular] encamped before the mount.” (Exodus 19:2). The great medieval commentator, Rashi, points out that the transition from the plural to the singular form of the verb indicates that at Sinai, the Israelites were “as one person, with one heart.” Just as the magnitude of the Sinai experience had the power to unite the multitudes of people from twelve independent tribes into one nation, such is the power of Yerushalayim. The Talmudic sage Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi homiletically explains the verse “Yerushalayim built up, a city knit together,” (Psalms 122:3), to mean that Jerusalem is a city “that makes all of Israel friends” (Yerushalmi Chagiga 3:6). As it did in the time of the return from Babylonia, today as well Yerushalayim has the power to bring Israel together as one, and to serve as a source of unity for all humanity.1 comment

2  Then Yeshua son of Yotzadak and his brother Kohanim, and Zerubavel son of Shealtiel and his brothers set to and built the mizbayach of the God of Yisrael to offer burnt offerings upon it as is written in the Teaching of Moshe, the man of Hashem.

ב  וַיָּקָם יֵשׁוּעַ בֶּן־יוֹצָדָק וְאֶחָיו הַכֹּהֲנִים וּזְרֻבָּבֶל בֶּן־שְׁאַלְתִּיאֵל וְאֶחָיו וַיִּבְנוּ אֶת־מִזְבַּח אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לְהַעֲלוֹת עָלָיו עֹלוֹת כַּכָּתוּב בְּתוֹרַת מֹשֶׁה אִישׁ־הָאֱלֹהִים׃

3  They set up the mizbayach on its site because they were in fear of the peoples of the land, and they offered burnt offerings on it to Hashem, burnt offerings each morning and evening.

ג  וַיָּכִינוּ הַמִּזְבֵּחַ עַל־מְכוֹנֹתָיו כִּי בְּאֵימָה עֲלֵיהֶם מֵעַמֵּי הָאֲרָצוֹת ויעל [וַיַּעֲלוּ] עָלָיו עֹלוֹת לַיהוָה עֹלוֹת לַבֹּקֶר וְלָעָרֶב׃

4  Then they celebrated the festival of Sukkot as is written, with its daily burnt offerings in the proper quantities, on each day as is prescribed for it,

ד  וַיַּעֲשׂוּ אֶת־חַג הַסֻּכּוֹת כַּכָּתוּב וְעֹלַת יוֹם בְּיוֹם בְּמִסְפָּר כְּמִשְׁפַּט דְּבַר־יוֹם בְּיוֹמוֹ׃

5  followed by the regular burnt offering and the offerings for the new moons and for all the sacred fixed times of Hashem, and whatever freewill offerings were made to Hashem.

ה  וְאַחֲרֵיכֵן עֹלַת תָּמִיד וְלֶחֳדָשִׁים וּלְכָל־מוֹעֲדֵי יְהוָה הַמְקֻדָּשִׁים וּלְכֹל מִתְנַדֵּב נְדָבָה לַיהוָה׃

6  From the first day of the seventh month they began to make burnt offerings to Hashem, though the foundation of the Temple of Hashem had not been laid.

ו  מִיּוֹם אֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי הֵחֵלּוּ לְהַעֲלוֹת עֹלוֹת לַיהוָה וְהֵיכַל יְהוָה לֹא יֻסָּד׃

7  They paid the hewers and craftsmen with money, and the Tzidonians and Tyrians with food, drink, and oil to bring cedarwood from Lebanon by sea to Yaffo, in accord with the authorization granted them by King Cyrus of Persia.

ז  וַיִּתְּנוּ־כֶסֶף לַחֹצְבִים וְלֶחָרָשִׁים וּמַאֲכָל וּמִשְׁתֶּה וָשֶׁמֶן לַצִּדֹנִים וְלַצֹּרִים לְהָבִיא עֲצֵי אֲרָזִים מִן־הַלְּבָנוֹן אֶל־יָם יָפוֹא כְּרִשְׁיוֹן כּוֹרֶשׁ מֶלֶךְ־פָּרַס עֲלֵיהֶם׃

8  In the second year after their arrival at the House of Hashem, at Yerushalayim, in the second month, Zerubavel son of Shealtiel and Yeshua son of Yotzadak, and the rest of their brother Kohanim and Leviim, and all who had come from the captivity to Yerushalayim, as their first step appointed Leviim from the age of twenty and upward to supervise the work of the House of Hashem.

ח  וּבַשָּׁנָה הַשֵּׁנִית לְבוֹאָם אֶל־בֵּית הָאֱלֹהִים לִירוּשָׁלִַם בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַשֵּׁנִי הֵחֵלּוּ זְרֻבָּבֶל בֶּן־שְׁאַלְתִּיאֵל וְיֵשׁוּעַ בֶּן־יוֹצָדָק וּשְׁאָר אֲחֵיהֶם הַכֹּהֲנִים וְהַלְוִיִּם וְכָל־הַבָּאִים מֵהַשְּׁבִי יְרוּשָׁלִַם וַיַּעֲמִידוּ אֶת־הַלְוִיִּם מִבֶּן עֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה וָמַעְלָה לְנַצֵּחַ עַל־מְלֶאכֶת בֵּית־יְהוָה׃

9  Yeshua, his sons and brothers, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Yehuda, together were appointed in charge of those who did the work in the House of Hashem; also the sons of Henadad, their sons and brother Leviim.

ט  וַיַּעֲמֹד יֵשׁוּעַ בָּנָיו וְאֶחָיו קַדְמִיאֵל וּבָנָיו בְּנֵי־יְהוּדָה כְּאֶחָד לְנַצֵּחַ עַל־עֹשֵׂה הַמְּלָאכָה בְּבֵית הָאֱלֹהִים בְּנֵי חֵנָדָד בְּנֵיהֶם וַאֲחֵיהֶם הַלְוִיִּם׃

10  When the builders had laid the foundation of the Temple of Hashem, Kohanim in their vestments with trumpets, and Leviim sons of Asaf with cymbals were stationed to give praise to Hashem, as King David of Yisrael had ordained.

י  וְיִסְּדוּ הַבֹּנִים אֶת־הֵיכַל יְהוָה וַיַּעֲמִידוּ הַכֹּהֲנִים מְלֻבָּשִׁים בַּחֲצֹצְרוֹת וְהַלְוִיִּם בְּנֵי־אָסָף בַּמְצִלְתַּיִם לְהַלֵּל אֶת־יְהוָה עַל־יְדֵי דָּוִיד מֶלֶךְ־יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

11  They sang songs extolling and praising Hashem, “For He is good, His steadfast love for Yisrael is eternal.” All the people raised a great shout extolling Hashem because the foundation of the House of Hashem had been laid.

יא  וַיַּעֲנוּ בְּהַלֵּל וּבְהוֹדֹת לַיהוָה כִּי טוֹב כִּי־לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵל וְכָל־הָעָם הֵרִיעוּ תְרוּעָה גְדוֹלָה בְהַלֵּל לַיהוָה עַל הוּסַד בֵּית־יְהוָה׃

12  Many of the Kohanim and Leviim and the chiefs of the clans, the old men who had seen the first house, wept loudly at the sight of the founding of this house. Many others shouted joyously at the top of their voices.

יב  וְרַבִּים מֵהַכֹּהֲנִים וְהַלְוִיִּם וְרָאשֵׁי הָאָבוֹת הַזְּקֵנִים אֲשֶׁר רָאוּ אֶת־הַבַּיִת הָרִאשׁוֹן בְּיָסְדוֹ זֶה הַבַּיִת בְּעֵינֵיהֶם בֹּכִים בְּקוֹל גָּדוֹל וְרַבִּים בִּתְרוּעָה בְשִׂמְחָה לְהָרִים קוֹל׃

13  The people could not distinguish the shouts of joy from the people’s weeping, for the people raised a great shout, the sound of which could be heard from afar.

 

יג  וְאֵין הָעָם מַכִּירִים קוֹל תְּרוּעַת הַשִּׂמְחָה לְקוֹל בְּכִי הָעָם כִּי הָעָם מְרִיעִים תְּרוּעָה גְדוֹלָה וְהַקּוֹל נִשְׁמַע עַד־לְמֵרָחוֹק׃

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Ezra 3

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