In this week's Parsha, Yaakov finds out the unbelievable news that his son Yosef was not only alive, but he is the viceroy of Egypt. Yaakov then makes the decision to join his son and move to Egypt. Although excited to be reunited with Yosef, he was not so comfortable with the thought of have to leave Eretz Yisroel. Understandably so, he had already demonstrated his great love of the land by piling up all the wealth he acquired while working for Lavan and handing it over to Eisav, in order buy off Eisav's share in the Mearas Hamachpeila. Yaakov did that stating that anything attained outside of Eretz Yisroel was of no value to him. In order to alleviate his distress Hashem appeared to Yaakov the night before he left to assure him that he was doing the right thing. There aspect of this prophecy that is troubling, we know only non reputable characters such as Bilam and the like received visions at night. This demonstrated their lowliness. Why is Hashem appearing to Yakov at night? The Meshech Chochma addresses the question and responds with the following.
Hashem appears to Yaakov at night to show him that even at night, in the darkness of exile, He will be with him. This idea goes even deeper. We attribute the Shachris prayer to Avraham, and Mincha to Yitzchak, and Ma'ariv to Yaakov. This is represented in the Temple with Morning Continual-offering (Korban Tamid) representing Shachris. The Afternoon Continual-offering representing Mincha. Those sacrifices that had been slaughtered during the day but not yet been burnt on the Altar and are instead burnt throughout the night, are represented by Ma'ariv. Only sacrifices slaughtered during the day, can be burnt at night. For after the Afternoon Continual-offering all slaughtering ceased. Only those sacrifices which are connected to the day, by virtue of being slaughtered prior to that last sacrifice, may be brought up at night to be burnt. Yaakov, who instituted Ma'ariv, which represents those night sacrifices, remained connected to what he was in Eretz Yisroel by virtue of he already achieved in while living in the land of Israel.
We find the same concept with Prophecy. Only a prophet who had received prophecy while being in Eretz Yisroel can the continue to receive prophecy outside of Eretz Yisroel for he now remains linked to that level or state he was on in Eretz Yisroel. This was the message Hashem had for Yaakov upon his leaving the land. Yaakov will remain linked and He will be with him even in Egypt.
The Meshech Chochma comments that we learn from the above a valuable lesson. Only those who follow in the of their forefathers, maintain the link that forefathers established. They merit Hashem's continual protection even in exile, during the "night," for they are the same people who once lived in Eretz Yisroel. But those who don't head in the ways of their forefathers, demonstrate that they are not the same people, and therefore are severing their connection. They do not merit the Protection promised to their forefather.
There is a powerful story documented by Yonasan Rosenblum, a noted author and journalist, which brings this lesson home. A certain Palestinian Legislature once related the reason for his devotion to the Palestinian cause. A while back, when he was languishing in an Israeli prison for terrorist crimes he had committed, he started thinking of giving up terrorism and the Palestinian cause, in order to live a normal life. One day, while he was contemplating the futility of fighting the Israelis, he noticed his prison guard eating a pita. Usually there is nothing with eating a pita. However, it was Pesach and he knew that eating a pita wasn't part of the Holiday. He asked his guard why he was eating a pita on Pesach. The guard laughed and responded, "Pesach happened thousands of years ago, what does that have to do with me now?" When the Palestinian heard that he thought to himself, "their whole claim to Land is that they are the same people who lived here two thousand years ago. This guard just demonstrated that there is no connection and therefore must not be the same people. They don't deserve the land more than my people." At that moment he decided not give up and continue his struggle for his cause. May we strengthen our connection and merit the Redemption speedily in or day.