Yechezkel’s prophecy begins with the terrifying and esoteric vision of Hashem’s holy chariot, symbolic of the Divine Presence leaving the Beit Hamikdash and following the Jewish people into exile. The people may be temporarily bereft of their land, but are never abandoned by God. According to Jewish tradition, a prophet cannot receive prophecy outside the Land of Israel, unless he has first received it inside of the land. Therefore, the early commentators such as Rashi and Radak, note that in Hebrew, the word for the past is doubled in the words hayo haya (היה היה), translated here as “came to,” since Yechezkel’s current prophecy is a continuation of previous prophecies that visited him in Yerushalayim. Even when exiled, the people’s connection to the holiness and spirituality of Eretz Yisrael is never severed or broken.
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