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Sefer Ezra: Part 7 - The New Bais HaMikdash - Some Rejoice, Some Cry
“And they raised their voices in hallel and thanks to Hashem, for He is good, because His goodness towards Yisrael is forever. And all the people shouted in praise to Hashem for the laying of the foundation of the House of Hashem.”
Hallel is praising the Creator, and thanks is gratitude for His goodness. “For He is good” refers to hallel - that He is goodness in itself, and “because His goodness is forever” refers to thanks.
The possuk says “all the people” shouted in praise because not everybody was able to express thanks. Many people, who had seen the first Beis Hamikdash, were crying.
“And many of the Kohanim, Leviim, and heads of the families, the elders who had seen the first House on its foundation, cried loudly when the saw this House, and many raised their voices to shout in happiness.”
Those who had see the first Beis Hamikdash in its glory could not hold back their tears when they saw the second Beis Hamikdash, which could not compare to the first. However, the younger people who were present rejoiced at the sight. Rashi says that their joy was due to their freedom from exile.
The Malbim says that many were crying because they understood that the Beis Hamikdash was built only with permission of Coresh, and according to his qualifications, which limited the size of the building. However, others rejoiced that the kedushah of Eretz Yisrael would now be everlasting. Originally, when Bnei Yisrael conquered their enemies and entered Eretz Yisrael in the days of Yehoshua, the land acquired kedusha through their conquest. When Eretz Yisrael was conquered during of the days of the first Churban, the conquest of Bnei Yisrael was annulled, and its kedusha was annulled. Presently, during the days of Ezra, the kedusha of Eretz Yisrael was acquired through chezka, which is everlasting and cannot be annulled.
“And the people could not distinguish the voice of the happy shouting from the voice of the weeping of the people, because the people blew the trumpet, and the uproar was heard from a distance.”
Rashi says that the sound of rejoicing was not heard because of the louder sound of the crying. The Malbim says that the noise of the crying and the rejoicing were both not heard due to the blowing of the shofros, which were heard from afar, and silenced all other sounds.
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