Now we shall explain the essence of the "Ladder". Know that the Ladder is not physical, rather it is atmospheric. It encompasses all of Eretz Yisrael, protecting it and preventing the expansion of the kelipot into the Land. The width of this Ladder is four cubits and its' height is five hundred years. This Ladder has many levels [steps or rungs] ascending from the earth up to the firmaments. Some of these levels are internal while others are external.

Anyone departing Eretz Yisrael, as long as he hasn't gone further than four cubits past its border is considered as if he hasn't left. For within those four cubits, he is in the midst of the Ladder. Similarly, anyone who is entering Eretz Yisrael, and hasn't entered more than four cubits is as if he has not yet entered Eretz Yisrael.

Eretz Yisrael's boundaries are neither linear nor spherical….

This is the secret of the verse, "And His land [in Hebrew, 'admato'] shall atone for His nation" (Deut. 32:43). The word "admato" is made up of the letters that spell "d[alet] ammot" ["four cubits"]. They are what bring atonement for one's transgressions.

Even though the Ladder has linear dimensions, Eretz Yisrael's boundaries are neither linear nor spherical, rather they are in the form of a man lying face-up on the ground with his head towards the East. His two arms are stretched out, one to the north the other to the south. His two legs are open. The one big toe is facing towards Hor HaHar - which is in the northwest area. The other is facing the river of Egypt, which is the southwest area. Between his two legs enter the Mediterranean Sea, which is its western border. In this fashion we find that the dimensions of Eretz Yisrael are an array of strips large and small. Surrounding all these strips is the Ladder. The internal level of the Ladder is the side touching Eretz Yisrael, whereas the external level is the side facing Chutz LaAretz.

Once he has entered four cubits…into Eretz Yisrael, immediately 22,000 angels of purity descend….

Know that eleven thousand angels surround anyone who lives in Chutz LaAretz, as it is written, "A thousand shall fall at your right side, and ten thousand at your left." (Psalms 91:7). Upon entering Eretz Yisrael, these angels ascend the Ladder on the external side to the place where they belong. Yet once he has entered four cubits (the width of the Ladder) into Eretz Yisrael, immediately 22,000 angels of purity descend the Ladder on the side of Eretz Yisrael. These correspond to the twenty-two letters of the alef-beit that form the Torah. These angels then escort the one who has entered the Land. Twenty thousand surround his right side and two thousand on the left. A hint for this can be found in the verse, "G‑d's entourage is twice ten thousand, thousands of angels" (Psalms 68:18).

Twenty-two thousand angels encompass all those that live in Eretz Yisrael as well. Yet he who's mazal has changed for the worse, and has to leave Eretz Yisrael, when he approaches the outer edge of the Sulam to leave, immediately those 22,000 angels ascend the Sulam. They return to their rightful place. Upon exiting the Ladder, immediately eleven thousand angels descend from the outside of the Ladder and escort the person in his journey abroad.

This transference carries with it all the ramifications of the transition of Nefesh of Asiya to the Nefesh of Yetzira - which is from Eretz Yisrael, as was mentioned earlier. Thus far the words of Rav Chaim Vital, of blessed memory.