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־יְרוּשָׁלָ ִם׃
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.