343. Rabbi Yosi opened the discussion with the verse: "Thus says Hashem, A voice was heard in Rama, lamentation and bitter weeping..." (Yirmeyah 31:14). "Thus says Hashem:" It has been understood that whenever a prophet opens his words, they are recognized BY THE NAME MENTIONED AT THE BEGINNING, WHETHER THE NAME INDICATES JUDGMENT OR MERCY, ZEIR ANPIN OR MALCHUT, ETC. "Thus says Hashem:" This is the Holy One, blessed be He, NAMELY ZEIR ANPIN. What does He say? "A voice was heard in Rama" OF MALCHUT, AS WILL BE EXPLAINED.
344. We have learned that on the day the Temple was destroyed and Yisrael went into exile with a millstone around their necks and their hands bound behind them, the Congregation of Yisrael, THE SHECHINAH, was driven from the King's house to follow them INTO EXILE. When THE SHECHINAH descended, She said, Let me go first to lament My dwelling place, THE TEMPLE, My children, YISRAEL, and My husband ZEIR ANPIN, WHO SEPARATED FROM HER. When She came down, She saw her abode ruined with much blood of the pious flowing in it, and the Temple and Her house consumed by fire.
345. She then raised Her voice IN WEEPING, and the upper and lower beings were in a tumult. The voice reached up to where the King, ZEIR ANPIN, abides. The King then wanted to bring the world back into chaos. Many legions and hosts OF ANGELS came down to console Her but She took no consolation. Hence, "a voice was heard in Rama, lamentation and bitter weeping...Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted for her children," because she would not be consoled by them. "Because he is not" (Ibid.): The Holy King has risen above and is not inside Her. Hence, it says, "because he is not" and not 'they are not,' SINCE IT ALLUDES TO THE HOLY KING.
346. Rabbi Chiya said to him: Why does it say "Rachel weeping for her children?" IT SHOULD HAVE SAID THAT THE SHECHINAH WAS WEEPING FOR HER CHILDREN. He said to him: We learned that RACHEL is the Congregation of Yisrael, NAMELY THE SHECHINAH. Surely she is Jacob's wife, NAMELY THE WIFE OF ZEIR ANPIN CALLED JACOB, as written, "And Jacob loved Rachel" (Beresheet 29:18) and "but Rachel was barren" (Ibid. 31). It is also written, "He makes the barren woman to keep house, and be a joyful mother of children" (Tehilim 113:9). ALL THESE VERSES SPEAK OF THE SHECHINAH.
347. Another interpretation for: "Because he is not:" It resembles the words: "There is none greater in this house than I" (Beresheet 39:9). "NONE" DOES NOT SIMPLY MEAN THAT HE IS NOT, BUT THAT THERE IS NO ONE GREATER IN THE HOUSE THAN I. IT IS WRITTEN IN GENERAL AND HAS MANY MEANINGS, 1) "he is not" because THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, is gone above, away from everything; 2) "he is not" united with her and 3) "he is not," BECAUSE HIS NAME, THE SHECHINAH, is no longer His great name, BUT IS IN EXILE.
348. Rabbi Chiya said, Whence is the starting point of the Shechinah's exile? He said to him: From the Temple, where She dwelt. She then went around all the land of Yisrael. When She left the land and stood in the desert, after sitting there for three days, She led the crowd, the camps and the inhabitants of the King's house FROM JERUSALEM and cried to it: "How does the city sit solitary" (Eichah 1:1). Rabbi Chiya and Rabbi Yosi wept.
349. Rabbi Yosi said, Yisrael would never have gone into exile from the land of Yisrael, nor would the Temple have been destroyed, had not all of Yisrael been found guilty before the King and the leaders of the world first, as written, "They that lead you cause you to err, and destroy the way of your paths" (Yeshayah 3:12). Once the leaders of the people went the way of evil, the whole people were drawn after and followed them. Rabbi Chiya said, We learn this from the verse: "And if the whole Congregation of Yisrael sin through ignorance" (Vayikra 4:13). In what way? Since "the thing be hid from the eyes of the assembly" (Ibid.), for the eyes of the people are their chiefs, after whom the whole people are drawn and follow.
350. While they were walking, they saw a lush place with a river flowing through it. They sat down. While they were sitting, a bird flew past them. Rabbi Chiya said, Let us go from here because wild cocks abide here, NAMELY ROBBERS. They rose and left. When they looked back they saw robbers chasing them. A miracle happened to them and they found before them a rock, in which there was a cave. They entered it and sat there all that day and all the night.