1. "And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years" (Beresheet 47:28). Rabbi Yosi said, Jacob's heart saw through prophecy in Egypt that his descendants would suffer many exiles - NAMELY HE SAW ALL THE EXILES from then until now, until the End, and the time of the Coming of the the Messiah.
2. Jacob arrived at the prophecy of "and...lived" only in Egypt. It was an excellent prophecy, the like of which was never prophesied before. None of the prophets was worthy of it except for him and Moses ALONE. It is written of Moses, "For no man shall see Me, and live" (Shemot 33:20). Of Jacob, it is written, "And Jacob lived" REFERRING TO the prophecy which descends from the shining mirror, TIFERET.
3. Jacob wanted to prophesy concerning the exiles of his children in the land of Canaan and in any land wherein they dwelt WHICH came from the land of Egypt; MEANING, ALL EXILES ARE INCLUDED WITHIN EGYPT. His heart broke, as it is written, "Now Jacob saw that there was corn (also: 'breaking') in Egypt" (Beresheet 42:1).
4. Hence, when it came to pass that "Jacob lived in Egypt," he did not rejoice, because this land was the bond of the nations; MEANING, ALL THE FILTH OF THE NATIONS LIES THERE. ALSO, the sapphires of the Throne of Glory, THE SECRET OF THE CAPTIVE SPARKS OF CHOCHMAH AMONGST THEM, CALLED SAPPHIRES ACCORDING TO THE SECRET MEANING OF THE VERSE, "AND ABOVE THE FIRMAMENT THAT WAS OVER THEIR HEADS WAS THE LIKENESS OF A THRONE, IN APPEARANCE LIKE A SAPPHIRE STONE" (YECHEZKEL 1:26). Nobody came to SIFT them, neither from the upper nor from the lower, save the living. This is the secret of: "For no man shall see Me, and live."
5. There are profound mysteries in this verse, and we friends wonder about them, for it says that Jacob lived instead of Yisrael, MEANING 'AND ISRAEL LIVED.' FOR THE NAME JACOB INDICATES SMALLNESS, AND THE NAME ISRAEL INDICATES MOCHIN OF GREATNESS, WHILE "AND LIVED" ALLUDES TO THE LIGHT OF CHAYAH, WHICH IS THE MOCHIN OF GREATNESS. IT SHOULD HAVE SAID, 'AND ISRAEL LIVED.' How do we know that Yisrael INDICATES MOCHIN OF GREATNESS? From the verse, "Yisrael is holy to Hashem" (Yirmeyah 2:3), HOLY BEING AN ALLUSION TO GREATNESS. It also says, "Israel is My son, My firstborn" (Shemot 4:22), FIRSTBORN BEING AN ALLUSION TO GREATNESS. THUS, THE NAME ISRAEL IS MENTIONED WITH RELATION TO GREATNESS AND NOT JACOB, WHICH IS A NAME OF SMALLNESS, ACCORDING TO THE SECRET MEANING OF THE VERSE, "HOW SHALL JACOB STAND? FOR HE IS SMALL" (AMOS 7:2). Rabbi Elazar, the son of Rabbi Shimon, said, Yet scripture says, "And he sold his birthright to Jacob" (Beresheet 25:33), FOR WITH THE BIRTHRIGHT, WHICH IS GREATNESS, THE NAME JACOB IS MENTIONED. THUS IT IS NO QUESTION WHY IT SAYS "AND JACOB LIVED" INSTEAD OF 'AND ISRAEL LIVED.'
6. His father Rabbi Shimon said to him: When the people of Yisrael were righteous men of truth and gave charity, they were not afraid, save Jacob alone, WHO, THE VERSE TELLS US, WAS AFRAID, SAYING, "FOR I FEAR HIM" (BERESHEET 32:12), WHILE YISRAEL IS A NAME OF GREATNESS, WITHOUT FEAR. IT IS due to the good deeds YISRAEL did, and the kindness amongst them THAT THEY HAD NO FEAR.
7. When they sinned and were exiled because of their transgressions and evil deeds, they could not bear THE FEAR that they would really stay forever IN EXILE for their sins. Thus came the aspect of Mercy and Judgment joined WHICH IS THE MEANING OF THE NAME Yisrael, and put them in exile.
8. Well asked, my son, IN RELATION TO THE VERSE, "AND HE SOLD HIS BIRTHRIGHT TO JACOB." But whoever looks into it will know that Jacob attached to "and lived" represents holiness, LIKE THE NAME YISRAEL. In relation to this secret, it has been said that Jacob was chosen by the Holy One, blessed be He, to be a sapphire in the Throne of Glory, INSTEAD OF YISRAEL.
9. Rabbi Shimon opened the discussion, saying, "Yet with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones" (Yeshayah 57:15). "The heart of the contrite ones" is Jacob, as it says "AND JACOB LIVED," FOR from beneath the grade prophecies and blessings descended upon him even in Egypt.