Monday, 9 February 2015
Judaism, the First Phase: the Place of Ezra and Nehemiah in the Origins of Judaism,
Joseph Blenkinsopp, Eerdmans, 2009, page 177
Ezra, in the other hand is fêted by the Talmud. Ascribed as one of the five tzaddikim with Abraham, Moes, Aaron and Hezekiah (b. Megilla 11a), he was supposed to be a disciple of Baruch so benefited indirectly from the teaching of Jeremiah (b. Megilla 16b). Blenkinsopp summarises an impressive set of accomplishments:
In addition to performing the duties of high priest, Ezra founded the first yeshiva, presided over the Great Assembly, wrote the book of Judges, authored the Targum and compiled the Misnah.
Above all, he was the one who restored the Torah and divided it into its parshiyot for liturgical use (b. Megilla 31b). If Moses has not come first to receive the Torah at Sinai, then Ezra would have been worthy to receive it directly from G-d (b. Sanhedrin 21b)!