I always thought that after the exile, things in Israel got pretty boring. Certainly Ezra would make a good traffic warden, I have to say I don't find him a terribly exciting figure. (Sorry traffic wardens!) But Nehemiah is different, and there is a great intensity to the love and the passion that Jews feel for their land that began to grow from these days forward.
First, here's a reading from the early days of the Return. Day 256: The Rebuilding Programme begins
Have you ever read Psalm 119? When I was a choir boy it was a running joke. The longest Psalm! 176 verses all about the Law! Has anybody ever got to the end without falling asleep? Imagine my surprise at being bowled over by it last year.
This passion for God's word, God's promises and the Land. The Land which embodies all those promises is loved with a passion. Jews always call it the Land. Capital L. Ha erets, if you speak Hebrew. If you are a Jew, that's your land, it's where you belong, even if you were born on the other side of the world and you've never been there.