274. Come and behold, when Rabbi Elazar ben Arach reached the passage, "AND THESE ARE THE NAMES..." he would weep. Rabbi Elazar ben Arach said, We learned that when the children of Yisrael went into exile, all the souls of the tribes gathered at the cave of Machpelah. They cried and said, 'Grandfather, grandfather, there is no greater labor in pain of the children, there is no greater labor in this world than THAT. Your children are all enslaved WITH HARD LABOR by others, who execute upon them ALL MANNERS OF vengeance in the world.'
275. At that moment, the spirit of that grandfather was stirred, MEANING JACOB, requested permission. and descended INTO EGYPT. The Holy One, blessed be He, summoned His companies and Chariots, and their King, WHICH IS THE SHECHINAH at their head. And they all descended with Jacob and his tribes. The tribes descended alive with their father TO EGYPT. They also descended dead with their father TO EGYPT. This is what is written, "And these are the names of the children of Israel who came into Egypt...Reuben, Simeon and Levi..." (Shemot 1:1-2). Come and behold, now they are dead, AS MENTIONED EARLIER, yet they descended TO EGYPT. And it was written, "And Joseph was in Egypt" (Ibid. 5). FOR HIS SPIRIT DID NOT LEAVE EGYPT AFTER HIS DEATH, THAT HE SHOULD HAVE TO RETURN AND DESCEND AS THE OTHER TRIBES DID. Rabbi Aba said, After this he, JOSEPH, is called, "As a father pities his children" (Tehilim 103:13), BECAUSE HE DID NOT LEAVE THEM, EVEN AFTER HIS DEATH.