Rabbi Yehuda and Rabbi Yosei met Rabbi Aba on their way and Rabbi Yosei saw the Shechina with Rabbi Aba. Rabbi Aba asked them about their current study. They told him about the verse in Genesis 46:4 that says in singular form; “I will go down with you to Egypt” and later the Torah mentions it in plural form.
“וְאֵלֶּה, שְׁמוֹת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, הַבָּאִים, מִצְרָיְמָה: אֵת יַעֲקֹב, אִישׁ וּבֵיתוֹ בָּאוּ.”
“Now these are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob; they came each one with his household:”
We learn from that verse that the Holy One Blessed be He and all the angels came with Jacob to Egypt.
Rabbi Aba says that there are three questions to ask and learn from. The first one is related to the knowledge that the Shechina doesn’t dwell outside the land of Israel and we read that the prophecy of Ezekiel was in the land of the Chaldeans.
Another question is about Moses that was faithful and close to God but Ezekiel the prophet revealed more secrets than Moses (Ezekiel 1)..
“לֹא כֵן עַבְדִּי מֹשֶׁה בְּכָל בֵּיתִי נֶאֱמָן הוּא”
“Not so, with My servant Moses, He is faithful in all My household;”
The third question is that it may seem as if Ezekiel was not in his right mind because if he was, he wouldn’t reveal so much.
Rabbi Aba explains that we shouldn’t assume that Ezekiel revealed more than it was needed. Ezekiel was wise and revealed only what the Holy One Blessed be He, allowed him to reveal.
God never left the Israelites in exile before bringing the Shechina to be with them. It is especially true with Jacob as the Holy One Blessed be He, the Shechina and camps of angels came with him to Egypt. This is the part of the verse above that says “…who came to Egypt with Jacob”. Even though it says, “I will go down with you”, it doesn’t mean alone but with the Shechina and all angels as revealed in the vision of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1).
Rabbi Aba was so close to the Torah that the Shechina was with him at all times. We may not be pure enough to have the Shechina accompanying us wherever we go but we can gather a lot of angels with our studies and positive actions.
Going to Egypt was a state of ‘going down’. Jacob was righteous and when he went down to Egypt he went there with great support.
We are ‘down’ and in a state of exile. This is true even for people in the Israel. It can not be called Holy Land until we have the Third Holy Temple standing with its glory on the Temple Mount for the whole world to see.
Until that day, we get the support of the Shechina by studying, praying and doing positive actions.