Rabbi Elazar opened with, "And yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies I will not cast them away, nor will I loath them, to utterly destroy them and to break my covenant with them; for I am the Lord their G‑d..." (Lev. 26:44) Israel are blessed above all other idolatrous nations, since even though they have angered their Master, G‑d, does not want to leave them, as wherever they are exiled among the nations G‑d is with them in exile. This is the meaning of, "And yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies [for I am the L-rd their G‑d" and I watch over them]."

Rabbi Aba said
(and adds that the Shechinah Herself is in exile with Israel, as it is written], "And yet for all that, when they are." Come and see how great is G‑d's love, for Israel. Even though they caused themselves to be in exile among the nations, the Shechinah never removed Herself from them. (As a merciful mother, She went with her children to exile.] Do not say that they are in exile alone, but, "And yet for all that (in Hebrew, 'zot')," is with them. [The Shechinah is called "zot".] This is the meaning of, "And yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies..." [Even the Shechinah called "zot" is found with them in the land of their enemies.]

It is like a king who was angry with his son and decreed that as punishment that he should go away from him into a faraway land. The queen heard it and said, since my son is going to a faraway land and the king threw him out of his palace, I shall not leave him. The two of us shall either return to the king's palace or together dwell in another land. After a few days the king visited the queen but did not find her because she left with his son. He said, since the queen is there, let both of them return.

It will happen the same way when G‑d will visit the queen
[the Shechinah]. He shall visit Her first and for Her sake visit His children. This is the meaning of, "And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel..." (Ex. 6:5) Who brought it about that "I have also heard the groaning"? It is as if because of the Shechinah that I remembered them. This is the meaning of, "and I have remembered My covenant". [The Shechinah is called G‑d's covenant, and through this memory, of the Shechinah, I will remember Israel.] It is also written, "and Elokim remembered His covenant [i.e. the Shechinah]." (Ex. 2:24) "G‑d your Elokim will return you from your captivity, and have compassion upon you." (Deut. 30:3) The covenant is the queen [the Shechinah who dwells in exile due to our sins]. It is also written, "G‑d, You have been favorable to Your land; You have brought back the captives of Jacob" [i.e. Israel from exile]. (Ps. 85:2)

BeRahamim LeHayyim: Why did the Ari and Chida include this section? What do they want us to learn?

Where is this Shechinah, this Feminine Indwelling Presence of the Eternal? And what does it mean that She is with us in exile?

We all miss the mark. We aim, but don't fulfill correctly what needs to be done. We are blessed with these 10 days to balance our ship in the waters of life. But we are not alone on stormy seas. We are promised that even if we are in personal Galut/exile caused by our frequent disconnections with the Eternal, that His Beloved, She is beside us, always. And She will open the door for us, the gates at Ne'ilah on Yom Kippur. She is the Covenant, She is the guarantor for our return, and for our survival.

She is in our heart, the place of Teshuvah. Speak to Her, speak to your heart. G‑d promised us that if we make Him a sanctuary, that He will dwell among us ---"Veshachanti Betocham"; the Shechinah is within it, and within us. Build this place, open its doors, and the Gates above too will be open for you come Yom kippur. Blessed may be your efforts.

What does the above mean for your teshuvah, and why is it being revealed to you now?

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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