Jacob was overjoyed to hear that Joseph was still alive and that he had remained true to Jacob’s ideals. Although he looked forward to joining Joseph, he regretted having to leave the land promised to his forebears. G d therefore appeared to him and assured him that his family would grow into a nation while in Egypt.
Healthy Regret
אַל תִּירָא מֵרְדָה מִצְרַיְמָה כִּי לְגוֹי גָּדוֹל אֲשִׂימְךָ שָׁם: (בראשית מו:ג)
[G‑d said to Jacob,] “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for it is there that I will make you into a great nation.” Genesis 46:3

G‑d was not trying to soothe Jacob’s regret over leaving the Promised Land, for a Jew should regret not living in the Land of Israel. Rather, G‑d was telling Jacob that his regret over going into exile was the key to not becoming intimidated by it, and therefore, the key to overcoming it.

Since G‑d put us in exile, it follows that He has given us all the strength we need to overcome its challenges. As long as the exile continues, it is the optimal setting for our individual and collective growth and development. Here, however, lurks a great danger. When we realize that we have no reason to be intimidated by exile and that we benefit so greatly from it, we can fall into the trap of becoming habituated to it. As a consequence, we can become vulnerable to exile’s negative effects on us, and it goes without saying that we can no longer elevate it properly.

Therefore, like Jacob, we should always cultivate regret over the fact that we are not in our proper environment, the Land of Israel in the Messianic Redemption. As long as we remember who we really are and the lives we are really meant to lead, we need not fear exile; we will overcome it.1