180. "And Hashem said to Abraham, after Lot was separated from him..." (Beresheet 13:14). Rabbi Aba opened the discussion by saying, "And Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of Hashem" (Yonah 1:3). Woe to those who hide from the presence of the Holy One, blessed be He, of whom it is written: "I fill the heaven and earth, says Hashem" (Yirmeyah 23:24). AND HE WONDERS, why did Jonah want to flee from the presence OF THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE?
181. AND HE REPLIES, In the verse, "My dove (Heb. yonati), who are in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the cliff" (Shir Hashirim 2:14), "my dove" refers to the Congregation of Yisrael, NAMELY THE SHECHINAH; "in the clefts of the rock" means Jerusalem, that is, the highest place in the world. Just as the rock is stronger and more eminent than everything, so is Jerusalem stronger and more eminent than all. The words, "in the secret places of the cliff" refer to the place that is called the place of the holy of holies, which is the heart of the entire world.
182. It is written, "in the secret places of the cliff" OF THE HOLY OF HOLIES because the Shechinah used to hide Herself there, as does a modest wife, who does not show herself out of her house. Just as it is written, "Your wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of your house" (Tehilim 128:3), so the Congregation of Yisrael does not dwell out of its own place, WHICH IS the "secret places of the cliff," except at times of exile. And since it is in exile, then the other nations of the world enjoy greater prosperity and peace THAN YISRAEL.
183. Come and behold, when the nation of Yisrael dwells in the Holy Land, everything is in its place, and the throne, WHICH IS THE NUKVA, is firmly established over them. They worshipped Hashem, WHICH MEANS THAT THEY ELEVATED MAYIN NUKVIN (FEMALE WATERS), and transcended the layers of air of the world. Their service ascended on high to its place TO THE MALE AND THE FEMALE, CAUSING THEM TO MATE WITH EACH OTHER. Because Yisrael alone is suited for the service, other nations were kept afar from the land. They did not rule as they do now. The other nations were nourished only from the residue. IN OTHER WORDS, THE ABUNDANCE THAT YISRAEL DREW DOWN BY THEIR SERVICE WAS ENOUGH TO ALSO NOURISH THE OTHER NATIONS OF THE WORLD. BUT THE MAJORITY OF THE ABUNDANCE WENT TO YISRAEL; THE OTHER NATIONS OF THE WORLD RECEIVED ONLY A RESIDUE OF THIS ABUNDANCE. THIS IS WHY DOMINION WAS GIVEN TO YISRAEL.
184. You may say, 'But we can see that many foreign kings ruled, even when the Temple was still in the world.' Come and behold, During the first Temple, Yisrael had not yet defiled the land. As a result, the other nations did not yet rule completely. Rather, they were nourished from the residue. And because their dominion was nourished by this residue, their rule was not very powerful. But as Yisrael sinned and defiled the land, it was as if they drove the Shechinah from her place to another place. Then, the other nations took control and were allowed to rule.
185. Come and behold, no other Governor rules over the land of Yisrael but the Holy One, blessed be He, alone. Therefore, when Yisrael sinned and burned incense to other deities in the land, it is as if the Shechinah was driven from her place. Because the incense attracted other deities, these deities became associates with Yisrael and dominion was handed over to them. Because the incense makes connections, THEY DREW THEIR POWER FROM THE SHECHINAH AND ATTAINED THEIR DOMINION THROUGH HER. Then the other nations ruled, the prophets were no more, and all the supernal grades ceased to govern the land.
186. And the dominion was not taken away from the other nations, because they drew THE ABUNDANCE OF the Shechinah to themselves. Therefore, during the second Temple, the dominion of the other nations was not withdrawn from them. Even more so at the time of exile, when the Shechinah resided among other nations where other Governors had control. Thus, they all draw their power from the Shechinah, whom they attract.
187. Accordingly, when Yisrael dwelt in the land and performed the services for the Holy One, blessed be He, the Shechinah was hidden modestly among them and did not leave Her home nor appear in public. Because of this, all the prophets that existed during that time, NAMELY THE TIME WHEN THE TEMPLE STOOD, did not receive their prophecy from outside of Her place, OUTSIDE OF THE LAND OF YISRAEL, as we have stated. Because of this, Jonah fled from the Holy Land. He did not want the prophecy revealed to him, so that he would not be obliged to complete the mission of the Holy One, blessed be He.
188. You might say, 'But the Shechinah revealed Herself to Ezekiel in Babylon, which is outside of the land of Yisrael!' However, as we have explained, these words, "the word came (Heb. hayoh hayah)" (Yechezkel 1:3), refer to an event that never happened before or since the construction of the Temple. That prophecy was for that time only, TO BRING CONSOLATION TO YISRAEL.
189. And as it is written, "by the river Kevar," WHICH MEANS the river had already (Heb. kevar) been there since the creation of the world, and the Shechinah had always appeared there, EVEN BEFORE THE TEMPLE WAS CONSTRUCTED. As it is written, "And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and branched to four streams" (Beresheet 2:10). The river Kevar is one of these four STREAMS.