“Rise, for the matter is incumbent upon you, and we are with you; be strong and do (Ezra 10:4)!” First, full disclosure time: I’m taking this verse out of the context of the chapter as a whole. The chapter is in general all about getting rid of the foreign wives that the men partnered up with during the time in Babylon. However, when I saw this verse in particular, it resonated with me deeply in light of yesterday. Yesterday was the March For Our Lives, and I had the honor of bringing a group to the National Mall to stand in solidarity with the incredible student leaders who are changing the world with their words, actions, and steps. From the moment I heard about the march, I knew that I needed to be there, as an educator, as a Jew, and simply as a human being who is terrified of the regularity with which we hear about kids dying in school shootings. So, as this verse tells us to, I, along with a staggering 800,000 others in DC alone, rose. Because it is incumbent on us, all of us, to stand up and speak out, and to not be complacent in the face of the indifference of lawmakers and others who seem content to wait for the next attack. So in keeping with the advice of Ezra, we all need to be strong, and to move beyond thoughts and into actions.
And with that, Ezra is done! Tomorrow I’ll be starting on the book of Nechemia, and the project is really on the path of winding down. I only have three books, and seventy-eight chapters left to go. That’s essentially four more months of this epic project, and I’m committed to appreciating each one of them before this project comes to a close.