The Divrei Nechemyah ben Chachalyah. And it came to pass in the month Kislev, in the twentieth year [i.e., 445 B.C.E.], as I was in Shushan the capital [of Persia],
That Chanani, one of my achim [see 7:2], came, he and certain men, from Yehudah; and I asked them concerning the remnant of the Yehudim that had survived the Exile [the Golus], and concerning Yerushalayim.
And they said unto me, The remnant that have survived the Exile [the Golus] there in the province are in ra’ah gedolah and reproach; the Chomat Yerushalayim also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with eish.
And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for several yamim, and did a tzom, and davened before Elohei HaShomayim,
And said, O Hashem Elohei HaShomayim, HaEl HaGadol vHaNora, that is shomer habrit vachesed for them that love Him and are shomer mitzvot over His commandments,
Let Thine ear now be attentive, and Thine eyes open, that Thou mayest hear the tefillah of Thy eved, which I am davening before Thee now, yomam valailah, for the Bnei Yisroel Thy avadim, and mitvaddeh al chattot (confess the sins) of the Bnei Yisroel, which we have sinned against Thee. Both I and the Bais Avi have sinned.
We have dealt very corruptly against Thee, and have not been shomer mitzvot, neither over the chukkim, nor the mishpatim, which Thou commandedst Moshe Thy eved.
Remember, the word that Thou commandedst Moshe Thy eved, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations,
But if ye make teshuvah and turn unto Me, and are shomer over My mitzvot, and do them; though there were of you those exiled unto the uttermost part of HaShomayim, yet will I gather them from there, and will bring them unto the place [i.e., Yerushalayim] that I have chosen to make dwell Shmi (My Name) there.
Now these are Thy Avadim and Thy Am, whom Thou hast redeemed by Thy ko’ach hagadol, and by Thy Yad HaChazakah.
O Adonoi, let now Thine ear be attentive to the tefillah of Thy eved, and to the tefillah of Thy Avadim, who desire to fear Thy Shem; and give success to Thy eved today, and grant him rachamim in the sight of this man. For I was the Mashkeh L’Melech.