web analytics
March 31, 2015 / 11 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Not Your Ordinary Scribe

Front-Page-060614

Photo Credit: Flash90

Ezra went up from Babylon. He was a scribe skilled in the Torah of Moshe, which the Lord God of Israel had given. The king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was upon him. (Ezra 7:6)

 

A primary appellation of the holiday of Shavuos is zman matan toraseinu, the time of the giving of our Torah. It marks the date by which we commemorate our nation’s singular experience at Sinai, when we received our most precious treasure. Naturally, this moment is inexorably linked with Moshe Rabbeinu, the great leader who served as Hashem’s messenger in delivering His Word to our forebears.

While the Torah was given only once, there were numerous moments in Jewish history when our commitment to Torah came under intense fire and needed to be upheld, if not regiven. This included the period of the Chashmonaim, who valiantly withstood Seleucid and Hellenistic harassment in order to preserve the Torah’s purity. Other struggles took place with the Tzaddukim (students of the apostate Tzadok, during the Second Commonwealth period), as well as the later struggles against the Karaites and, most recently, Reform.

In each instance, a new leader arose who refused to relent and heroically took steps to preserve the Torah and its observance among the masses.

One such man was Ezra. Ezra was active during the years just following the completion of the Second Temple. He was so influential that our sages placed him on a level with Moshe, affirming that “had Moshe not preceded him, Ezra would have been worthy of receiving the Torah for Israel” (Sanhedrin 21b).

As a guide to others and a foremost member of the Great Assembly, Ezra provided strong leadership and a moral conscience to a people that had lost its way. It would be far from an exaggeration to suggest that if it hadn’t been for him, the overwhelming majority of the Judean community would have disappeared from the historical landscape.

* * * * *

Ezra the Scribe arrived in Jerusalem a year after the completion of the Temple. Nearly 1,500 men and their families, in addition to thirty-eight Levites who were fit for service in the Temple, accompanied him.

Prior to his journey, Ezra received official sanction from the Persian ruler Darius to oversee social and governmental affairs in Judah. The king further pledged additional contributions for the Temple, and went so far as to permit the Jews to use tax monies to help support the Temple service.

Upon his arrival Ezra was faced with unexpected difficulties. Though the Temple had been rebuilt by the time of his appearance on Judean soil, the optimism that had accompanied it had failed to overturn years of malaise caused by a failed initial attempt at rebuilding (during the earlier period of Zerubavel), economic stagnation, and constant threats from hostile neighbors.

Add to that the limited trickle of reinforcements and financial support from Babylonia and the recent narrow escape under Achashveirosh, and it becomes easy to understand the feeling of hopelessness that had enveloped the community. This sense of surrender had an adverse effect on the Jews’ spiritual and emotional well being.

Ezra was greatly distressed at the weak spiritual level that confronted him. Most people were ignorant of Torah. Many had not been circumcised. The most discouraging reality was the high rate of assimilation and intermarriage. Not even the family of Ezra’s nephew, the high priest Yehoshua, was left unaffected (Sanhedrin 93a).

Ezra summoned all the people to Jerusalem. In an unprecedented display of decisive leadership, he unequivocally demanded that the men separate from their foreign wives. They were up to Ezra’s challenge and quickly acquiesced.

About the Author: Rabbi Naphtali Hoff is an executive coach and president of Impactful Coaching and Consulting (ImpactfulCoaching.com). He can be reached at 212.470.6139 or at president@impactfulcoaching.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Not Your Ordinary Scribe”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Talks between Iran and the P5+1 at Lausanne are likely to be extended beyond Obama's self-imposed deadline.
Iran Likely to Force Obama to Back Down on ‘Deadline Threat’
Latest Indepth Stories
hurva

The rededication of the Hurva caused international hysteria.Arabs called the action a “provocation”

Photo from President Barack Obama's past visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

{Originally posted to author’s website, FirstOne Through} TRUST Trust is the bedrock of a functional relationship. It enables one party to rely on the other. A trust that includes both intention and capability permits a sharing of responsibility and workload. The relationship between US President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu started off badly and further […]

jabotinsky with sword

Jabotinsky said “Go To Hell” was a good retort to opponents of the Jewish people; fitting for Obama.

Obama Racine

Obama pulled off one of US history’s greatest cons,twice fooling a gullible electorate and most Jews

While in Auschwitz I felt a tangible intensity. I could sense that I was in a place of sheer evil.

Obama needs to wake up. The real enemy is not Netanyahu but Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad,IS

My beliefs & actions have led to numerous death threats against me; my excommunication by my church

In November 2014, Islamic Relief Worldwide was classified as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates.

Too rarely appreciated for its symbolic weight; it can represent freedom and independence.

Erica Pelman is a spiritually-driven woman. She is founder and director of “In Shifra’s Arms” (ISA), an organization that offers aid to pregnant Jewish women of all religious backgrounds practically, financially and emotionally. Its arms are open to any pregnant woman in need whether single, divorced, separated, or from a financially-strapped family. “Presently, we are […]

Many so-called “humanitarian NGOs” frequently abuse Israel by applying false moral equivalencies

Israeli history now has its version of “Dewey Defeats Truman” with headlines from 2 anti-Bibi papers

In God’s plan why was it necessary that Moses be raised by Pharaoh, away from his own family&people?

In their zechus may we all come to appreciate that life is a fleeting gift and resolve to spend every precious moment of it as if it were the last.

More Articles from Rabbi Naphtali Hoff
BibiatAIPAC15.jpg

Until recent times, every powerful nation that has ever ruled the world has been fundamentally anti-Semitic.

An anti-Semitic poster seen in Europe.

The Holocaust was the latest attempt of Amalek to destroy the special bond that we enjoy with God.

A central concept in any discussion about happiness is achieving clarity. “Ain simcha ela k’hataras hasefeikos” – there is no joy as that experienced with the removal of doubt.

Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.

He ruthlessly crushed the revolt, and, despite lacking official Roman sanction, ordered the rebel leaders put to death without trial.

Where did this incredible strength come from? What drove these Jews, who had nearly lost all of their national identity and spiritual connectivity, to risk their lives by standing up against one of the strongest and most fearsome governments of its time?

Of all the Jewish holidays, I would say Sukkos is far and away the least appreciated.

While there is no formula that will work for everyone, there are some strategies that if followed carefully and consistently can help our children – and us – gain the most from the upcoming school year.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/not-your-ordinary-scribe/2014/06/03/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: