3 He read from it, facing the square before the Water Gate, from the first light until midday, to the men and the women and those who could understand; the ears of all the people were given to the scroll of the Teaching.
ג וַיִּקְרָא־בוֹ לִפְנֵי הָרְחוֹב אֲשֶׁר לִפְנֵי שַׁעַר־הַמַּיִם מִן־הָאוֹר עַד־מַחֲצִית הַיּוֹם נֶגֶד הָאֲנָשִׁים וְהַנָּשִׁים וְהַמְּבִינִים וְאָזְנֵי כָל־הָעָם אֶל־סֵפֶר הַתּוֹרָה׃
4 Ezra the scribe stood upon a wooden tower made for the purpose, and beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriya, Chilkiyahu, and Maaseiah at his right, and at his left Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zecharya, Meshullam.
5 Ezra opened the scroll in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people; as he opened it, all the people stood up.
ה וַיִּפְתַּח עֶזְרָא הַסֵּפֶר לְעֵינֵי כָל־הָעָם כִּי־מֵעַל כָּל־הָעָם הָיָה וּכְפִתְחוֹ עָמְדוּ כָל־הָעָם׃
6 Ezra blessed Hashem, the great Hashem, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” with hands upraised. Then they bowed their heads and prostrated themselves before Hashem with their faces to the ground.
ו וַיְבָרֶךְ עֶזְרָא אֶת־יְהֹוָה הָאֱלֹהִים הַגָּדוֹל וַיַּעֲנוּ כָל־הָעָם אָמֵן אָמֵן בְּמֹעַל יְדֵיהֶם וַיִּקְּדוּ וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲוֻּ לַיהֹוָה אַפַּיִם אָרְצָה׃
7 Yeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azarya, Yozavad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Leviim explained the Teaching to the people, while the people stood in their places.
ז וְיֵשׁוּעַ וּבָנִי וְשֵׁרֵבְיָה יָמִין עַקּוּב שַׁבְּתַי הוֹדִיָּה מַעֲשֵׂיָה קְלִיטָא עֲזַרְיָה יוֹזָבָד חָנָן פְּלָאיָה וְהַלְוִיִּם מְבִינִים אֶת־הָעָם לַתּוֹרָה וְהָעָם עַל־עָמְדָם׃
8 They read from the scroll of the Teaching of Hashem, translating it and giving the sense; so they understood the reading.
ח וַיִּקְרְאוּ בַסֵּפֶר בְּתוֹרַת הָאֱלֹהִים מְפֹרָשׁ וְשׂוֹם שֶׂכֶל וַיָּבִינוּ בַּמִּקְרָא׃
9 Nechemya the Tirshatha, Ezra the Kohen and scribe, and the Leviim who were explaining to the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to Hashem your God: you must not mourn or weep,” for all the people were weeping as they listened to the words of the Teaching.
10 He further said to them, “Go, eat choice foods and drink sweet drinks and send portions to whoever has nothing prepared, for the day is holy to our Lord. Do not be sad, for your rejoicing in Hashem is the source of your strength.”
י וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם לְכוּ אִכְלוּ מַשְׁמַנִּים וּשְׁתוּ מַמְתַקִּים וְשִׁלְחוּ מָנוֹת לְאֵין נָכוֹן לוֹ כִּי־קָדוֹשׁ הַיּוֹם לַאֲדֹנֵינוּ וְאַל־תֵּעָצֵבוּ כִּי־חֶדְוַת יְהֹוָה הִיא מָעֻזְּכֶם׃
11 The Leviim were quieting the people, saying, “Hush, for the day is holy; do not be sad.”
יא וְהַלְוִיִּם מַחְשִׁים לְכָל־הָעָם לֵאמֹר הַסּוּ כִּי הַיּוֹם קָדֹשׁ וְאַל־תֵּעָצֵבוּ׃
12 Then all the people went to eat and drink and send portions and make great merriment, for they understood the things they were told.
יב וַיֵּלְכוּ כָל־הָעָם לֶאֱכֹל וְלִשְׁתּוֹת וּלְשַׁלַּח מָנוֹת וְלַעֲשׂוֹת שִׂמְחָה גְדוֹלָה כִּי הֵבִינוּ בַּדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר הוֹדִיעוּ לָהֶם׃
13 On the second day, the heads of the clans of all the people and the Kohanim and Leviim gathered to Ezra the scribe to study the words of the Teaching.
יג וּבַיּוֹם הַשֵּׁנִי נֶאֶסְפוּ רָאשֵׁי הָאָבוֹת לְכָל־הָעָם הַכֹּהֲנִים וְהַלְוִיִּם אֶל־עֶזְרָא הַסֹּפֵר וּלְהַשְׂכִּיל אֶל־דִּבְרֵי הַתּוֹרָה׃
14 They found written in the Teaching that Hashem had commanded Moshe that the Israelites must dwell in booths during the festival of the seventh month,
יד וַיִּמְצְאוּ כָּתוּב בַּתּוֹרָה אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהֹוָה בְּיַד־מֹשֶׁה אֲשֶׁר יֵשְׁבוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּסֻּכּוֹת בֶּחָג בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי׃
15 and that they must announce and proclaim throughout all their towns and Yerushalayim as follows, “Go out to the mountains and bring leafy branches of olive trees, pine trees, myrtles, palms and [other] leafy trees to make booths, as it is written.”
va-a-SHER yash-MEE-u v’-ya-a-VEE-ru KOL b’-khol a-ray-HEM u-vee-ru-sha-LA-im lay-MOR tz’-U ha-HAR v’-ha-VEE-u a-lay ZA-yit va-a-lay AYTZ SHE-men va-a-LAY ha-DAS va-a-LAY t’-ma-REEM va-a-LAY AYTZ a-VOT la-a-SOT su-KOT ka-ka-TUV
טו וַאֲשֶׁר יַשְׁמִיעוּ וְיַעֲבִירוּ קוֹל בְּכָל־עָרֵיהֶם וּבִירוּשָׁלַ ִם לֵאמֹר צְאוּ הָהָר וְהָבִיאוּ עֲלֵי־זַיִת וַעֲלֵי־עֵץ שֶׁמֶן וַעֲלֵי הֲדַס וַעֲלֵי תְמָרִים וַעֲלֵי עֵץ עָבֹת לַעֲשֹׂת סֻכֹּת כַּכָּתוּב׃
8:15 Go out to the mountains and bring leafy branches of olive trees
Any species of tree may be used to construct the sukkah, the booth used to observe the holiday of Sukkot. For this particular Sukkot, though, the people specifically looked for olive branches. Besides being one of the seven special agricultural species of the Land of Israel (Deuteronomy 8:8), the olive also plays a significant role in the story of Noach’s flood. After the rain stopped falling, Noach sent out a dove to see if the flood waters had receded. When the dove returned with a freshly plucked olive leaf, “Noach knew that the waters had decreased on the earth” (Genesis 8:11). Additionally, the menorah ‘lamp’ in the Beit Hamikdash is kindled daily exclusively with olive oil, and this oil is also used ceremoniously to anoint a new king. The common theme of these events is renewal. After the flood, the world was given a new start. Each time the menorah is lit, it is kindled anew, without any reliance on previous lightings, and the coronation of a new monarch also begins a new era for the kingdom. This symbolism was certainly not lost on the people in Nechemya’s time, who were renewing their traditions in the God-given land of their forefathers.Comment
16 So the people went out and brought them, and made themselves booths on their roofs, in their courtyards, in the courtyards of the House of Hashem, in the square of the Water Gate and in the square of the Efraim Gate.
טז וַיֵּצְאוּ הָעָם וַיָּבִיאוּ וַיַּעֲשׂוּ לָהֶם סֻכּוֹת אִישׁ עַל־גַּגּוֹ וּבְחַצְרֹתֵיהֶם וּבְחַצְרוֹת בֵּית הָאֱלֹהִים וּבִרְחוֹב שַׁעַר הַמַּיִם וּבִרְחוֹב שַׁעַר אֶפְרָיִם׃
17 The whole community that returned from the captivity made booths and dwelt in the booths—the Israelites had not done so from the days of Yehoshua son of Nun to that day—and there was very great rejoicing.
18 He read from the scroll of the Teaching of Hashem each day, from the first to the last day. They celebrated the festival seven days, and there was a solemn gathering on the eighth, as prescribed.
יח וַיִּקְרָא בְּסֵפֶר תּוֹרַת הָאֱלֹהִים יוֹם בְּיוֹם מִן־הַיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן עַד הַיּוֹם הָאַחֲרוֹן וַיַּעֲשׂוּ־חָג שִׁבְעַת יָמִים וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁמִינִי עֲצֶרֶת כַּמִּשְׁפָּט׃