Nehemiah 1

1The narrative of Nechemya son of Chachalya: In the month of Kislev of the twentieth year, when I was in the fortress of Shushan,

אדִּבְרֵי נְחֶמְיָה בֶּן־חֲכַלְיָה וַיְהִי בְחֹדֶשׁ־כסלו [כִּסְלֵיו] שְׁנַת עֶשְׂרִים וַאֲנִי הָיִיתִי בְּשׁוּשַׁן הַבִּירָה׃

2Chanani, one of my brothers, together with some men of Yehuda, arrived, and I asked them about the Yehudim, the remnant who had survived the captivity, and about Yerushalayim.

בוַיָּבֹא חֲנָנִי אֶחָד מֵאַחַי הוּא וַאֲנָשִׁים מִיהוּדָה וָאֶשְׁאָלֵם עַל־הַיְּהוּדִים הַפְּלֵיטָה אֲשֶׁר־נִשְׁאֲרוּ מִן־הַשֶּׁבִי וְעַל־יְרוּשָׁלָ ִם׃

3They replied, “The survivors who have survived the captivity there in the province are in dire trouble and disgrace; Yerushalayim's wall is full of breaches, and its gates have been destroyed by fire.”

גוַיֹּאמְרוּ לִי הַנִּשְׁאָרִים אֲשֶׁר־נִשְׁאֲרוּ מִן־הַשְּׁבִי שָׁם בַּמְּדִינָה בְּרָעָה גְדֹלָה וּבְחֶרְפָּה וְחוֹמַת יְרוּשָׁלַ ִם מְפֹרָצֶת וּשְׁעָרֶיהָ נִצְּתוּ בָאֵשׁ׃

4When I heard that, I sat and wept, and was in mourning for days, fasting and praying to the God of Heaven.

דוַיְהִי כְּשָׁמְעִי אֶת־הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה יָשַׁבְתִּי וָאֶבְכֶּה וָאֶתְאַבְּלָה יָמִים וָאֱהִי צָם וּמִתְפַּלֵּל לִפְנֵי אֱלֹהֵי הַשָּׁמָיִם׃

5I said, “Hashem, God of Heaven, great and awesome Hashem, who stays faithful to His covenant with those who love Him and keep His commandments!

הוָאֹמַר אָנָּא יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם הָאֵל הַגָּדוֹל וְהַנּוֹרָא שֹׁמֵר הַבְּרִית וָחֶסֶד לְאֹהֲבָיו וּלְשֹׁמְרֵי מִצְוׂתָיו׃

6Let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open to receive the prayer of Your servant that I am praying to You now, day and night, on behalf of the Israelites, Your servants, confessing the sins that we Israelites have committed against You, sins that I and my father's house have committed.

ותְּהִי נָא אָזְנְךָ־קַשֶּׁבֶת וְעֵינֶיךָ פְתֻוּחוֹת לִשְׁמֹעַ אֶל־תְּפִלַּת עַבְדְּךָ אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מִתְפַּלֵּל לְפָנֶיךָ הַיּוֹם יוֹמָם וָלַיְלָה עַל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל עֲבָדֶיךָ וּמִתְוַדֶּה עַל־חַטֹּאות בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר חָטָאנוּ לָךְ וַאֲנִי וּבֵית־אָבִי חָטָאנוּ׃

7We have offended You by not keeping the commandments, the laws, and the rules that You gave to Your servant Moshe.

זחֲבֹל חָבַלְנוּ לָךְ וְלֹא־שָׁמַרְנוּ אֶת־הַמִּצְוׂת וְאֶת־הַחֻקִּים וְאֶת־הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתָ אֶת־מֹשֶׁה עַבְדֶּךָ׃

8Be mindful of the promise You gave to Your servant Moshe: ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples;

חזְכָר־נָא אֶת־הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתָ אֶת־מֹשֶׁה עַבְדְּךָ לֵאמֹר אַתֶּם תִּמְעָלוּ אֲנִי אָפִיץ אֶתְכֶם בָּעַמִּים׃

9but if you turn back to Me, faithfully keep My commandments, even if your dispersed are at the ends of the earth, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place where I have chosen to establish My name.'

v'-shav-TEM ay-LAI ush-mar-TEM mitz-vo-TAI va-a-see-TEM o-TAM im yih-YEH ni-da-kha-KHEM bik-TZAY ha-sha-MA-yim mi-SHAM a-ka-b'-TZAYM va-ha-vee-o-TEEM el ha-ma-KOM a-SHER ba-KHAR-tee l'-sha-KAYN et sh'-MEE SHAM

טוְשַׁבְתֶּם אֵלַי וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם מִצְוׂתַי וַעֲשִׂיתֶם אֹתָם אִם־יִהְיֶה נִדַּחֲכֶם בִּקְצֵה הַשָּׁמַיִם מִשָּׁם אֲקַבְּצֵם והבואתים [וַהֲבִיאוֹתִים] אֶל־הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר בָּחַרְתִּי לְשַׁכֵּן אֶת־שְׁמִי שָׁם׃

 1:9   And bring them to the place where I have chosen to establish My name

One thing that sets Judaism apart from other religions is the concept of a “chosen place.” Many biblical commandments are relevant only in the Holy Land, and according to some Jewish philosophers, even other biblical laws have a qualitative superiority when performed in the land. Additionally, as seen in this verse, Eretz Yisrael is meant to play a central role in the national redemption process, as it is the destination for the ingathering of the exiles. In the Tanakh, “the place,” or hamakom (המקום) in Hebrew, refers both to the Land of Israel and the site of the Beit Hamikdash. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Sages teach that this word is also one of God’s seventy names.

10For they are Your servants and Your people whom You redeemed by Your great power and Your mighty hand.

יוְהֵם עֲבָדֶיךָ וְעַמֶּךָ אֲשֶׁר פָּדִיתָ בְּכֹחֲךָ הַגָּדוֹל וּבְיָדְךָ הַחֲזָקָה׃

11O Hashem! Let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to hold Your name in awe. Grant Your servant success today, and dispose that man to be compassionate toward him!” I was the king's cupbearer at the time.

יאאָנָּא אֲדֹנָי תְּהִי נָא אָזְנְךָ־קַשֶּׁבֶת אֶל־תְּפִלַּת עַבְדְּךָ וְאֶל־תְּפִלַּת עֲבָדֶיךָ הַחֲפֵצִים לְיִרְאָה אֶת־שְׁמֶךָ וְהַצְלִיחָה־נָּא לְעַבְדְּךָ הַיּוֹם וּתְנֵהוּ לְרַחֲמִים לִפְנֵי הָאִישׁ הַזֶּה וַאֲנִי הָיִיתִי מַשְׁקֶה לַמֶּלֶךְ׃