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Sefer Ezra: Part 6 - Building the Bais HaMikdash - Not Your Ordinary Construction Site
“And they gave silver to the woodcutters and carpenters, and food and drink and oil to the Tzidonim and the Tzorim, to bring the cedar wood from Lebanon to the sea of Yaffo, as permitted for them by Coresh, the king of Paras.”
The trees of Lebanon were the property of the king, and his permission was needed to transport them to Eretz Yisrael. However, the payment was for the transport alone, since the trees were a gift from Coresh, as he had promised to fund the building of the Beis Hamikdash.
“In the second year of their arrived at the House of Hashem in Yerushalayim, in the second month, Zerubavel ben Shealtial, Yeshua ben Yotzadak, and the rest of their brothers, the Kohanim, and the Leviim began, and all those who came from the captivity to Yerushalayim. They placed the Leviim aged twenty and older to sing during the work of the House of Hashem.”
The second month was Iyar. The Leviim sang shira while Bnei Yisrael laid the foundation of the Beis Hamikdash.
“And Yeshua and his sons stood, and his sons, and his brothers, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Yehudah, as one, to supervise the workers in the House of Hashem, and the sons of Chanadad, their sons and their brothers – the Leviim.”
It mentions the sons of Yehudah to differentiate him from one of the sons of Chanadad who was also named Kadmiel.
“And the builders laid the foundation of the Heichel of Hashem, and they positioned kohanim, dressed, with trumpets, and the Leviim, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals to praise Hashem through Dovid, the King of Israel.”
The Malbim quotes Rashi who says that when the possuk says the kohanim were “dressed” it means that they were clad in clothes of honor, since it was obvious they were dressed. According to the Raavad, the kohanim were dressed in bigdei kehuna. The Rambam holds that the kohanim were prohibited from wearing bigdei kehuna unless they were bringing korbanos. The Malbim says that the kohanim had dressed in the bigdei kehuna that morning to bring korbanos, and were allowed to continue wearing them afterwards, and therefore even according to the Rambam, they were wearing bigdei kehuna while blowing the trumpets.
Normally, the kohanim only blew trumpets on a Moad, and this occasion was a horaas shaa (a decree of the hour). In their great happiness they considered the day as a moad. “Through Dovid” means with songs and praised which Dovid authored.
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