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Sefer Ezra: Part 18 - The Perilous Journey Ends Safely
"And I called for a fast there, on the river Ahava, to fast before our G-d, to request from Him a safe journey for ourselves, and our babies, and all our possessions. For I had been ashamed to request from the king soldiers and horsemen to aid us from enemies along the way, because we had told the king that the hand of our G-d is on all those who seek Him for good, and His strength and anger are on all those who forsake Him.
Ezra refrained from asking the king for military protection on their trip only because the king was the under the impression that Hashem would protect them in a miraculous way. Actually, it would have been fitting to request soldiers and horsemen since it is not proper to depend on nissim. However, due to the present circumstances Ezra requested special protection from Hashem.
"And we fasted and we requested Hashem on this, and He fulfilled our requests."
Rashi says that "He fulfilled our requests" means that they traveled to Yerushalayim peacefully. Other mefarshim say that they knew immediately that their requests were fulfilled, possibly through a nevuah to Ezra who may have been Malachi Hanavi. The Malbim says Ezra knew instinctively that his tefillos had been answered, similarly to Rav Chanina ben Dosa, who knew when his tefillos were answered by the ease by which he said them.
"And I separated twelve of the officers of the Kohanim, Sharavyah, Chashavya, and with them ten of their brothers. And I weighed out to them the silver, the gold, and the vessels, donations to the House of our G-d which were donated by the king and his advisors, and officers, and all of Yisrael who were there."
They were about to travel into the desert, where there was a possibility of attacks by bandits. Ezra appointed these men, who were strong warriors, as their protectors, and the protectors of the valuables along the way.
"And we traveled from the river Ahava on the twelfth of the first month to go towards Yerushalayim. And the hand of our G-d was on us, and He saved from the hands of enemies and bandits on the way. And we arrived in Yerushalayim, and stayed there for three days."
On the fourth day, the valuables that the travelers brought were weighed and given over to Meremos, the son of Uriah Hakohen, and their weight was recorded. The newcomers then brought korbanos to Hashem. These korbanos were not those listed by the Torah that were usually offered at the Beis Hamikdah, but were brought by an horaas shaah.
"They told over the king's decrees to the king's satraps and the governors of the Trans-River, and they raised the people and the House of Hashem."
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