The Jewish Eye
Sefer Ezra: Part 15 - Ezra Finally Comes To Eretz Yisroel
Ezra now ascended to Eretz Yisroel, after his Rebbi, Baruch ben Neriah, passed away. We learn from this that Torah study is more important than the building of the Beis Hamikdash.
The Malbim quotes the Medrash, “Shimon Hatzaddik said, ‘On three things the world stands –on Torah, on avodah, and on gemillus chassadim.’ In the days of the Anshei Knesses Gedolah, these three pillars were personified by certain leaders of that era. Zerubavel and Yehoshua the Kohen Gadol led the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash, which established the pillar of avodah. Ezra Hasofer then emerged to establish the pillar of Torah, and Nechemia established the pillar of gemillus chassadim by strengthening the walls of Yerushalayim and engaging in communal work.
“This Ezra went up from Bavel. He was a gifted scholar of the Torah of Moshe which Hashem the G-d of Yisroel had given. The king granted his every request as the hashgacha of Hashem, his G-d, watched over him.”
Ezra was graced with a special hashgacha and protection from Hashem, which enabled his every request to be granted by the king. He was granted this special protection since he was the one who ensured that the Torah would not be forgotten from Yisroel. When he entered Eretz Yisroel, he organized Torah study within the land, and ensured that Bnei Israel would live up to the Torah’s laws.
Rashi maintains that Ezra was a Navi, and he was instructed by Hashem to request help from the king to spread Torah in Yisroel. Chazal say that Ezra was the Navi Malachi, who had rebuked the men in Bnei Yisroel for marrying non-Jewish wives. This rebuke was also attributed to Ezra, and the Gemara concludes that Ezra was actually Malachi.
“For Ezra prepared his heart to seek Hashem’s Torah, and to fulfill it and teach its laws and statutes in Yisroel.”
Ezra was zocheh to Hashem’s special hashgacha because he “prepared his heart to seek Hashem’s Torah.” (Rashi)
The Gemara learns out from this pasuk that that Ezra would have been worthy of giving over the Torah to Bnei Yisroel if he had lived in that generation. The words “to teach laws and statutes” were attributed to both Moshe Rabbeinu and Ezra.
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