The Book of Nechemia and Protective Edge

The book of Nechemia in the Tanach is often overlooked. No ancient historian or ancient politician or ancient religious debates ever mentioned Nechemia. Modern religious debates also don’t mention Nechemia.

Professor Gerald Aranoff,

Judaism Prof. G. Aranoff
Prof. G. Aranoff

Much in the Book of Nechemia is apt for us today in our war in Gaza.

The Jewish Encyclopedia 1907, volume 9 page 209: “Nechemia: Son of Hacaliah; rebuilder of the walls of Jerusalem.  The sole source of information about Nechemia is the canonical book that bears his name.”

Accordingly, one can write freely and bring passages from Nechemia and our commentaries with worry about criticisms from the anti-religious crowd.

Our Talmudic Sages, Chazal, heap far more praise on Ezra than on Nechemia. Ezra studied under Baruch ben Neriah.  Ezra rebuilt the Holy Temple, the Bait Hamikdash, may we witness the redemption speedily in our time.

Nechemia was the good governor in the land of Judah for 12 years:

“Furthermore, from the day I was commissioned to be governor in the land of Judah— from the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes until his thirty-second year, twelve years in all— neither I nor my brothers ever ate of the governor’s food allowance” (Neh. 5:14). 

The Malbim says here that “Furthermore” because Nechemia not only helped the poor but did not add to the burden of the rich and thus the whole people followed him.

Nechemia rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem!!!  External and internal  enemies of Israel were trying to stop Nechemia from building the walls of Jerusalem:

“When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, it angered him, and he was extremely vexed. He mocked the Jews,” (Neh. 3:33).

Nechemia rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem and fought our enemies at the same time:

“I said to the nobles, the prefects, and the rest of the people, “There is much work and it is spread out; we are scattered over the wall, far from one another. When you hear a trumpet call, gather yourselves to me at that place; our God will fight for us!” And so we worked on, while half were holding lances, from the break of day until the stars appeared” (Neh. 4:13-15).

Nechemia’s enemies tried time and again to kill him!!

“When word reached Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a breach remained in it—though at that time I had not yet set up doors in the gateways—Sanballat and Geshem sent a message to me, saying, “Come, let us get together in Kephirim in the Ono valley”; they planned to do me harm. I sent them messengers, saying, “I am engaged in a great work and cannot come down, for the work will stop if I leave it in order to come down to you.” They sent me the same message four times, and I gave them the same answer” (Neh. 6:1-4).

Nechemia’s enemies sent a false prophet and a false prophetess to harm Nechemia.

Nechemia had to deal with leftists and international enemies much as Netanyahu does today.  May Hashem grant Netanyahu success today as He granted to Nechemia, and even more so.