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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Nechemiah - Nehemiah - Chapter 8

Nechemiah - Nehemiah - Chapter 8

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 8

1. Now all the people gathered as one man to the square that was before the Water Gate, and they said to Ezra the scholar to bring the scroll of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded Israel.   א. וַיֵּאָסְפוּ כָל הָעָם כְּאִישׁ אֶחָד אֶל הָרְחוֹב אֲשֶׁר לִפְנֵי שַׁעַר הַמָּיִם וַיֹּאמְרוּ לְעֶזְרָא הַסֹּפֵר לְהָבִיא אֶת סֵפֶר תּוֹרַת מֹשֶׁה אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהֹוָה אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל:
2. And Ezra the priest brought the Law before the congregation, both men and women, and all who could hear with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month.   ב. וַיָּבִיא עֶזְרָא הַכֹּהֵן אֶת הַתּוֹרָה לִפְנֵי הַקָּהָל מֵאִישׁ וְעַד אִשָּׁה וְכֹל מֵבִין לִשְׁמֹעַ בְּיוֹם אֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי:
on the first day of the seventh month: That is the day of Rosh Hashanah.  
3. And he read in it before the square that was before the Water Gate from the [first] light until midday in the presence of the men and the women and those who understood, and the ears of all the people were [attentive] to the Scroll of the Law.   ג. וַיִּקְרָא בוֹ לִפְנֵי הָרְחוֹב אֲשֶׁר | לִפְנֵי שַׁעַר הַמַּיִם מִן הָאוֹר עַד מַחֲצִית הַיּוֹם נֶגֶד הָאֲנָשִׁים וְהַנָּשִׁים וְהַמְּבִינִים וְאָזְנֵי כָל הָעָם אֶל סֵפֶר הַתּוֹרָה:
from the light: of the beginning of the day.  
to the Scroll of the Law: All the people inclined their ears.  
4. And Ezra the scholar stood on a wooden tower that they had made for the purpose, and there stood beside him Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Uriah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right, and on his left Pedaiah, Mishael, Malkijah, Hashum, Hashbadanah, Zechariah, [and] Meshullam.   ד. וַיַּעֲמֹד עֶזְרָא הַסֹּפֵר עַל מִגְדַּל עֵץ אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ לַדָּבָר וַיַּעֲמֹד אֶצְלוֹ מַתִּתְיָה וְשֶׁמַע וַעֲנָיָה וְאוּרִיָּה וְחִלְקִיָּה וּמַעֲשֵׂיָה עַל יְמִינוֹ וּמִשְּׂמֹאלוֹ פְּדָיָה וּמִישָׁאֵל וּמַלְכִּיָּה וְחָשֻׁם וְחַשְׁבַּדָּנָה זְכַרְיָה מְשֻׁלָּם:
on a wooden tower: That wooden tower was made for the purpose of reading the Scroll of the Law upon it.  
5. And Ezra opened the scroll before the eyes of the entire people, for he was above all the people, and when he opened it, all the people stood.   ה. וַיִּפְתַּח עֶזְרָא הַסֵּפֶר לְעֵינֵי כָל הָעָם כִּי מֵעַל כָּל הָעָם הָיָה וּכְפִתְחוֹ עָמְדוּ כָל הָעָם:
for he was above all the people: Therefore, they all saw him.  
and when he opened it, all the people stood: And when he opened it to read, all the people stood silent.  
stood: Heb. עָמְדוּ, an expression of silence (they stood silent), like (Job 32:16): “… for they remained silent (עָמְדוּ) ; they no longer answered.”  
6. And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, "Amen, Amen," with the uplifting of their hands, and they bent their heads and prostrated themselves to the Lord on their faces to the ground.   ו. וַיְבָרֶךְ עֶזְרָא אֶת יְהֹוָה הָאֱלֹהִים הַגָּדוֹל וַיַּעֲנוּ כָל הָעָם אָמֵן | אָמֵן בְּמֹעַל יְדֵיהֶם וַיִּקְּדוּ וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲווּ לַיהֹוָה אַפַּיִם אָרְצָה:
with the uplifting of their hands: with the raising of their hands, meaning that they lifted their hands on high to thank the Holy One, blessed be He, as it is stated: (I Kings 8:22): “… and spread forth his hands towards heaven.”  
7. And Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites explained the Law to the people, and the people stood in their place.   ז. וְיֵשׁוּעַ וּבָנִי וְשֵׁרֵבְיָה יָמִין עַקּוּב שַׁבְּתַי | הוֹדִיָּה מַעֲשֵׂיָה קְלִיטָא עֲזַרְיָה יוֹזָבָד חָנָן פְּלָאיָה וְהַלְוִיִּם מְבִינִים אֶת הָעָם לַתּוֹרָה וְהָעָם עַל עָמְדָם:
explained… to the people: meaning that they would translate the words of the Torah to the people.  
in their place: meaning that they were standing on their feet.  
8. And they read in the scroll, in the Law of God, distinctly, and gave sense, and they explained the reading to them.   ח. וַיִּקְרְאוּ בַסֵּפֶר בְּתוֹרַת הָאֱלֹהִים מְפֹרָשׁ וְשׂוֹם שֶׂכֶל וַיָּבִינוּ בַּמִּקְרָא:
and gave sense: Heb. וְשּׂם שֶׂכֶל, and giving wisdom; וְשּׂם is an expression of doing.  
9. Then Nehemiah-he is Hattirshatha-and Ezra the priest, the scholar, and the Levites who caused the people to understand, said to all the people, "This day is holy to the Lord your God; neither mourn nor weep," for all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the Law.   ט. וַיֹּאמֶר נְחֶמְיָה הוּא הַתִּרְשָׁתָא וְעֶזְרָא הַכֹּהֵן | הַסֹּפֵר וְהַלְוִיִּם הַמְּבִינִים אֶת הָעָם לְכָל הָעָם הַיּוֹם קָדֹשׁ הוּא לַיהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם אַל תִּתְאַבְּלוּ וְאַל תִּבְכּוּ כִּי בוֹכִים כָּל הָעָם כְּשָׁמְעָם אֶת דִּבְרֵי הַתּוֹרָה:
The day is holy: because it is the day of Rosh Hashanah.  
for all the people were weeping: because they did not uphold the Torah appropriately.  
10. And he said to them, "Go, eat fat foods and drink sweet drinks and send portions to whoever has nothing prepared, for the day is holy to our Lord, and do not be sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength."   י. וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם לְכוּ אִכְלוּ מַשְׁמַנִּים וּשְׁתוּ מַמְתַּקִּים וְשִׁלְחוּ מָנוֹת לְאֵין נָכוֹן לוֹ כִּי קָדוֹשׁ הַיּוֹם לַאֲדֹנֵינוּ וְאַל תֵּעָצֵבוּ כִּי חֶדְוַת יְהֹוָה הִיא מָעֻזְּכֶם:
to whoever has nothing prepared: to a poor man who has no food prepared for himself.  
11. And the Levites quieted all the people, saying, "Hush, for the day is holy, and do not be sad."   יא. וְהַלְוִיִּם מַחְשִׁים לְכָל הָעָם לֵאמֹר הַסּוּ כִּי הַיּוֹם קָדֹשׁ וְאַל תֵּעָצֵבוּ:
quieted: They admonished all the people to be quiet, that they should weep no longer.  
Hush: Heb. הַסוּ, an expression of silence, like (Num. 13:30): “And Caleb hushed (וַיַהַס).”  
12. Then all the people went to eat and to drink and to send portions and to rejoice greatly, for they understood the words that they informed them of.   יב. וַיֵּלְכוּ כָל הָעָם לֶאֱכֹל וְלִשְׁתּוֹת וּלְשַׁלַּח מָנוֹת וְלַעֲשׂוֹת שִׂמְחָה גְדוֹלָה כִּי הֵבִינוּ בַּדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר הוֹדִיעוּ לָהֶם:
13. And on the second day, the heads of the fathers' houses of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, gathered to Ezra the scholar, and to understand the words of the Torah.   יג. וּבַיּוֹם הַשֵּׁנִי נֶאֶסְפוּ רָאשֵׁי הָאָבוֹת לְכָל הָעָם הַכֹּהֲנִים וְהַלְוִיִּם אֶל עֶזְרָא הַסֹּפֵר וּלְהַשְׂכִּיל אֶל דִּבְרֵי הַתּוֹרָה:
And on the second day: of Rosh Hashanah.  
14. And they found written in the Torah that the Lord had commanded by the hand of Moses that the Children of Israel dwell in booths on the festival in the seventh month.   יד. וַיִּמְצְאוּ כָּתוּב בַּתּוֹרָה אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהֹוָה בְּיַד מֹשֶׁה אֲשֶׁר יֵשְׁבוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּסֻּכּוֹת בֶּחָג בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי:
15. And that they should announce and proclaim in all their cities and in Jerusalem, saying, "Go out to the mountain and bring olive leaves and leaves of oil trees, myrtle leaves, date palm leaves, and leaves of plaited trees, to make booths, as it is written."   טו. וַאֲשֶׁר יַשְׁמִיעוּ וְיַעֲבִירוּ קוֹל בְּכָל עָרֵיהֶם וּבִירוּשָׁלִַם לֵאמֹר צְאוּ הָהָר וְהָבִיאוּ עֲלֵי זַיִת וַעֲלֵי עֵץ שֶׁמֶן וַעֲלֵי הֲדָס וַעֲלֵי תְמָרִים וַעֲלֵי עֵץ עָבֹת לַעֲשׂת סֻכֹּת כַּכָּתוּב:
And that they should announce: And they commanded that they announce that they celebrate the Festival of Sukkoth, and so it is customary for Scripture to speak in this manner, like (I Sam. 9:27): “Tell the servant and he will go ahead of us.”  
myrtle leaves: It is explained in Tractate Succah (12a) that this is a wild myrtle which is unfit for the lulav and only fit to make a sukkah.  
date palm leaves: for a lulav.  
and leaves of plaited trees: This is the myrtle that is fit for the lulav as is explained in Tractate Succah (ad loc.).  
16. And the people went forth and brought [them] and made booths for themselves, each one on his roof and in their courts and in the courts of the House of God, and in the square of the Water Gate, and in the square of the Gate of Ephraim.   טז. וַיֵּצְאוּ הָעָם וַיָּבִיאוּ וַיַּעֲשׂוּ לָהֶם סֻכּוֹת אִישׁ עַל גַּגּוֹ וּבְחַצְרֹתֵיהֶם וּבְחַצְרוֹת בֵּית הָאֱלֹהִים וּבִרְחוֹב שַׁעַר הַמַּיִם וּבִרְחוֹב שַׁעַר אֶפְרָיִם:
17. And all the congregation of the returnees from the captivity made booths and dwelt in the booths, for they had not done so from the days of Jeshua the son of Nun until that day, and there was exceedingly great joy.   יז. וַיַּעֲשׂוּ כָל הַקָּהָל הַשָּׁבִים מִן הַשְּׁבִי | סֻכּוֹת וַיֵּשְׁבוּ בַסֻּכּוֹת כִּי לֹא עָשׂוּ מִימֵי יֵשׁוּעַ בִּן נוּן כֵּן בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל עַד הַיּוֹם הַהוּא וַתְּהִי שִׂמְחָה גְּדוֹלָה מְאֹד:
18. And he read in the scroll of the Law of God day by day from the first day until the last day, and they made the festival seven days, and on the eighth day an assembly according to the ordinance.   יח. וַיִּקְרָא בְּסֵפֶר תּוֹרַת הָאֱלֹהִים יוֹם | בְּיוֹם מִן הַיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן עַד הַיּוֹם הָאַחֲרוֹן וַיַּעֲשׂוּ חָג שִׁבְעַת יָמִים וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁמִינִי עֲצֶרֶת כַּמִּשְׁפָּט:
day by day: every day.  
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