1 After these events, during the reign of King Artaxerxes of Persia, Ezra son of Seraya son of Azarya son of Chilkiya
א וְאַחַר הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה בְּמַלְכוּת אַרְתַּחְשַׁסְתְּא מֶלֶךְ־פָּרָס עֶזְרָא בֶּן־שְׂרָיָה בֶּן־עֲזַרְיָה בֶּן־חִלְקִיָּה׃
3 son of Amariah son of Azarya son of Meraioth
ג בֶּן־אֲמַרְיָה בֶן־עֲזַרְיָה בֶּן־מְרָיוֹת׃
4 son of Zerahiah son of Uzzi son of Bukki
ד בֶּן־זְרַחְיָה בֶן־עֻזִּי בֶּן־בֻּקִּי׃
6 that Ezra came up from Babylon, a scribe expert in the Teaching of Moshe which God of Yisrael had given, whose request the king had granted in its entirety, thanks to the benevolence of Hashem toward him.
Ezra was known as a sofer (סופר), a ‘scribe’ who reintroduced the Torah to public life in Jerusalem following the Babylonian exile. According the Talmud (Bava Kama 82a), he instituted public reading of the Torah on Shabbat in order to make it more dear to the people of Israel. In modern times, another “scribe” made a great contribution to Israel’s love for the Torah. Eliyahu Koren (1907-2001) was a master typographer who emigrated from Germany to Israel in 1933. He opened Koren Publishers Jerusalem in 1961, and the following year published the “Koren Tanakh,” the first Bible edited, designed, produced and bound by Jews in nearly 500 years. David Ben Gurion responded to the publication of the Tanakh, “Israel is redeemed from shame.” Koren, along with his team of experts, considered the precision of every letter, the placement of every word on every page and designed a new font to ensure maximum clarity and to signify the renewal of ancient Hebrew in modern times. The Koren Tanakh’s textual accuracy, innovative design and superior quality won it worldwide acclaim. After its publication, it became the Bible that IDF soldiers received, along with a gun, upon their induction into the Israel Defense Forces, and it is the Bible upon which Knesset members are sworn into office. As then Speaker of the Knesset Mr. Kadish Luz declared, “From this day forth, all of Israel’s presidents shall take their oaths of office upon this Bible. We have been governed by a Provisional State Council, a Provisional Government and even now sit in the temporary Knesset building. To date, Israeli presidents have been sworn in using a temporary edition of the Bible. This occasion symbolizes our overcoming of foreign heritage and return to our origins”.Comment
7 Some of the Israelites, the Kohanim and Leviim, the singers, the gatekeepers, and the temple servants set out for Yerushalayim in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes,
ז וַיַּעֲלוּ מִבְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל וּמִן־הַכֹּהֲנִים וְהַלְוִיִּם וְהַמְשֹׁרְרִים וְהַשֹּׁעֲרִים וְהַנְּתִינִים אֶל־יְרוּשָׁלִָם בִּשְׁנַת־שֶׁבַע לְאַרְתַּחְשַׁסְתְּא הַמֶּלֶךְ׃
8 arriving in Yerushalayim in the fifth month in the seventh year of the king.)
ח וַיָּבֹא יְרוּשָׁלִַם בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַחֲמִישִׁי הִיא שְׁנַת הַשְּׁבִיעִית לַמֶּלֶךְ׃
KEE b’-e-KHAD la-KHO-desh ha-ri-SHON HU y’-SUD ha-ma-a-LAH mi-ba-VEL uv-e-KHAD la-KHO-desh ha-kha-mee-SHEE BA el y’-ru-sha-LA-im k’-yad e-lo-HAV ha-to-VAH a-LAV
ט כִּי בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ הָרִאשׁוֹן הוּא יְסֻד הַמַּעֲלָה מִבָּבֶל וּבְאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ הַחֲמִישִׁי בָּא אֶל־יְרוּשָׁלִַם כְּיַד־אֱלֹהָיו הַטּוֹבָה עָלָיו׃
7:9 The journey up from Babylon was started
The late nineteenth and twentieth centuries witnessed a series of massive waves of Jewish immigration to Israel, known as Aliyot, literally, ‘ascents.’ Each Aliya had a specific demographic character. The nature of the returning Babylonian Jews was similar to the immigrants who came during the years 1882-1904 on what is known as the “First Aliya”. In both cases, the groups were mostly comprised of poor religious families. But to call these modern Zionists immigrants “first” is not entirely correct. Not only have there been waves of immigration to Israel throughout the centuries, but their forefathers returning from Babylon preceded them by two-thousand five-hundred years. In 1883, the first modern Jewish community in the northern Hula Valley was established by members of the “First aliyah.”. Inspired by this verse in Ezra describing the return of the Babylonian Jews, its founders named it Yesud Ha’Ma’ala, translated here as ‘the journey up was started.’Comment
12 “Artaxerxes king of kings, to Ezra the kohen, scholar in the law of the God of heaven, and so forth. And now,
יב אַרְתַּחְשַׁסְתְּא מֶלֶךְ מַלְכַיָּא לְעֶזְרָא כָהֲנָא סָפַר דָּתָא דִּי־אֱלָהּ שְׁמַיָּא גְּמִיר וּכְעֶנֶת׃
יג מִנִּי שִׂים טְעֵם דִּי כָל־מִתְנַדַּב בְּמַלְכוּתִי מִן־עַמָּה יִשְׂרָאֵל וְכָהֲנוֹהִי וְלֵוָיֵא לִמְהָךְ לִירוּשְׁלֶם עִמָּךְ יְהָךְ׃
14 For you are commissioned by the king and his seven advisers to regulate Yehuda and Yerushalayim according to the law of your God, which is in your care,
יד כָּל־קֳבֵל דִּי מִן־קֳדָם מַלְכָּא וְשִׁבְעַת יָעֲטֹהִי שְׁלִיחַ לְבַקָּרָא עַל־יְהוּד וְלִירוּשְׁלֶם בְּדָת אֱלָהָךְ דִּי בִידָךְ׃
טו וּלְהֵיבָלָה כְּסַף וּדְהַב דִּי־מַלְכָּא וְיָעֲטוֹהִי הִתְנַדַּבוּ לֶאֱלָהּ יִשְׂרָאֵל דִּי בִירוּשְׁלֶם מִשְׁכְּנֵהּ׃
16 and whatever silver and gold that you find throughout the province of Babylon, together with the freewill offerings that the people and the Kohanim will give for the House of their God, which is in Yerushalayim.
טז וְכֹל כְּסַף וּדְהַב דִּי תְהַשְׁכַּח בְּכֹל מְדִינַת בָּבֶל עִם הִתְנַדָּבוּת עַמָּא וְכָהֲנַיָּא מִתְנַדְּבִין לְבֵית אֱלָהֲהֹם דִּי בִירוּשְׁלֶם׃
17 You shall, therefore, with dispatch acquire with this money bulls, rams, and lambs, with their meal offerings and libations, and offer them on the mizbayach of the House of your God in Yerushalayim.
יז כָּל־קֳבֵל דְּנָה אָסְפַּרְנָא תִקְנֵא בְּכַסְפָּא דְנָה תּוֹרִין דִּכְרִין אִמְּרִין וּמִנְחָתְהוֹן וְנִסְכֵּיהוֹן וּתְקָרֵב הִמּוֹ עַל־מַדְבְּחָה דִּי בֵּית אֱלָהֲכֹם דִּי בִירוּשְׁלֶם׃
18 And whatever you wish to do with the leftover silver and gold, you and your kinsmen may do, in accord with the will of your God.
יח וּמָה דִי עליך [עֲלָךְ] וְעַל־אחיך [אֶחָךְ] יֵיטַב בִּשְׁאָר כַּסְפָּא וְדַהֲבָה לְמֶעְבַּד כִּרְעוּת אֱלָהֲכֹם תַּעַבְדוּן׃
19 The vessels for the service of the House of your God that are given to you, deliver to Hashem in Yerushalayim,
יט וּמָאנַיָּא דִּי־מִתְיַהֲבִין לָךְ לְפָלְחָן בֵּית אֱלָהָךְ הַשְׁלֵם קֳדָם אֱלָהּ יְרוּשְׁלֶם׃
20 and any other needs of the House of your God that it falls to you to supply, do so from the royal treasury.
כ וּשְׁאָר חַשְׁחוּת בֵּית אֱלָהָךְ דִּי יִפֶּל־לָךְ לְמִנְתַּן תִּנְתֵּן מִן־בֵּית גִּנְזֵי מַלְכָּא׃
21 I, King Artaxerxes, for my part, hereby issue an order to all the treasurers in the province of Beyond the River that whatever request Ezra the kohen, scholar in the law of the God of Heaven, makes of you is to be fulfilled with dispatch
כא וּמִנִּי אֲנָה אַרְתַּחְשַׁסְתְּא מַלְכָּא שִׂים טְעֵם לְכֹל גִּזַּבְרַיָּא דִּי בַּעֲבַר נַהֲרָה דִּי כָל־דִּי יִשְׁאֲלֶנְכוֹן עֶזְרָא כָהֲנָה סָפַר דָּתָא דִּי־אֱלָהּ שְׁמַיָּא אָסְפַּרְנָא יִתְעֲבִד׃
22 up to the sum of one hundred kikarot of silver, one hundred kor of wheat, one hundred batim of wine, one hundred batim of oil, and salt without limit.
כב עַד־כְּסַף כַּכְּרִין מְאָה וְעַד־חִנְטִין כֹּרִין מְאָה וְעַד־חֲמַר בַּתִּין מְאָה וְעַד־בַּתִּין מְשַׁח מְאָה וּמְלַח דִּי־לָא כְתָב׃
23 Whatever is by order of the God of Heaven must be carried out diligently for the House of the God of Heaven, else wrath will come upon the king and his sons.
כג כָּל־דִּי מִן־טַעַם אֱלָהּ שְׁמַיָּא יִתְעֲבֵד אַדְרַזְדָּא לְבֵית אֱלָהּ שְׁמַיָּא דִּי־לְמָה לֶהֱוֵא קְצַף עַל־מַלְכוּת מַלְכָּא וּבְנוֹהִי׃
24 We further advise you that it is not permissible to impose tribute, poll tax, or land tax on any kohen, Levite, singer, gatekeeper, temple servant, or other servant of this House of Hashem.
כד וּלְכֹם מְהוֹדְעִין דִּי כָל־כָּהֲנַיָּא וְלֵוָיֵא זַמָּרַיָּא תָרָעַיָּא נְתִינַיָּא וּפָלְחֵי בֵּית אֱלָהָא דְנָה מִנְדָּה בְלוֹ וַהֲלָךְ לָא שַׁלִּיט לְמִרְמֵא עֲלֵיהֹם׃
25 And you, Ezra, by the divine wisdom you possess, appoint magistrates and judges to judge all the people in the province of Beyond the River who know the laws of your God, and to teach those who do not know them.
כה וְאַנְתְּ עֶזְרָא כְּחָכְמַת אֱלָהָךְ דִּי־בִידָךְ מֶנִּי שָׁפְטִין וְדַיָּנִין דִּי־לֶהֱוֺן דאנין [דָּאיְנִין] לְכָל־עַמָּה דִּי בַּעֲבַר נַהֲרָה לְכָל־יָדְעֵי דָּתֵי אֱלָהָךְ וְדִי לָא יָדַע תְּהוֹדְעוּן׃
26 Let anyone who does not obey the law of your God and the law of the king be punished with dispatch, whether by death, corporal punishment, confiscation of possessions, or imprisonment.”
כו וְכָל־דִּי־לָא לֶהֱוֵא עָבֵד דָּתָא דִי־אֱלָהָךְ וְדָתָא דִּי מַלְכָּא אָסְפַּרְנָא דִּינָה לֶהֱוֵא מִתְעֲבֵד מִנֵּהּ הֵן לְמוֹת הֵן לשרשו [לִשְׁרֹשִׁי] הֵן־לַעֲנָשׁ נִכְסִין וְלֶאֱסוּרִין׃
27 Blessed is God of our fathers, who put it into the mind of the king to glorify the House of Hashem in Yerushalayim,
כז בָּרוּךְ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ אֲשֶׁר נָתַן כָּזֹאת בְּלֵב הַמֶּלֶךְ לְפָאֵר אֶת־בֵּית יְהוָה אֲשֶׁר בִּירוּשָׁלִָם׃
28 and who inclined the king and his counselors and the king’s military officers to be favorably disposed toward me. For my part, thanks to the care of Hashem for me, I summoned up courage and assembled leading men in Yisrael to go with me.
כח וְעָלַי הִטָּה־חֶסֶד לִפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ וְיוֹעֲצָיו וּלְכָל־שָׂרֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ הַגִּבֹּרִים וַאֲנִי הִתְחַזַּקְתִּי כְּיַד־יְהוָה אֱלֹהַי עָלַי וָאֶקְבְּצָה מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל רָאשִׁים לַעֲלוֹת עִמִּי׃