Nechemia and Shimon HaTzaddik: The crucial roles these great men
played in the physical and spiritual survival of our people.
Although the Temple had been recently rebuilt and the Jewish community had received both inspiration and needed leadership under Ezra, Jerusalem was still vulnerable to attack as its burnt and damaged walls were not yet rebuilt, leaving the city exposed and at the mercy of its enemies. Upon hearing the plight of his brethren, Nechemiah, the wine bearer of the Persian king Artaxerxes (Darius), asked permission from his master to rebuild the walls and insure the safety of Jerusalemís inhabitants. The story of Nechemiahís role in rebuilding and strengthening Jerusalem both physically and spiritually, the attempts of Sanballat, Nechemiahís formidable adversary, to undermine him and Jerusalemís Jewry, the defeat of Persia by Alexander and his planned attack against Jerusalem, and the emergence of Shimon HaTzaddik as the leader of Jewry during this difficult period is the subject of this lecture.
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