From this, I know only concerning two individuals; how do I know that even a single individual who sits and occupies himself with the Torah, G-d designates reward for him? From the verse, "He sits alone in meditative stillness; indeed, he receives [reward] for it" (Lamentations 3:28).
Now we shift our focus to an individual. In the previous part of the mishna the focus had been on how Divine Presence rests within a group - ten, even three, even two. Divine presence is not possible outside of a group. But even one person can still avail himself of the Divine Experience - but only through the Torah. It is not Shechina but there is a reward. Learning alone is far from ideal.
He who sits alone does not connect with Hashem, for by definition, loneliness is loneliness.
The simple meaning of this verse in Lamentations is that one who suffers should sit in silence and contain the pain which G-d placed upon him. Certainly R, Chanina ben Teradyon knew what it is to be in pain. He had a learned son and a learned daughter, Beruriah. It is related that Simon ben Haninah asked this son a Torah question and, and that the latter and his sister Bruriah, both provided different answers to it. When R.Yudah ben Bava heard of those opinions, he remarked, "Chaninah's daughter teaches better than his son" (Tosefta, Kelim, Bava Kama iv. 17). This son went off the derech and became a bandit. He betrayed his criminal associates, wherefore they killed him and filled his mouth with sand and gravel. Having discovered his remains, the people would have eulogized him out of respect for his father, but the latter would not permit it. "I myself shall speak," said he; and he did, quoting Proverbs 5:11. The mother quoted Proverbs 17:25; the sister, - 20:17 (Eicha Rabba iii. 16; Semachot xii.)
As in his life, so also in his death, R, Chanania ben Teradyon strove mightily that Torah should be studied in public. He lived what he preached here in Avos.Hadrian imposed a death penalty of those who taught Torah. In response, R. Chananya ben Teradyon convened public assemblies and taught Torah.
For this he and his wife were condemned to death, and their daughter to degradation. His death was terrible. Wrapped in the scroll, he was placed on a pyre of green brush; fire was set to it, and wet wool was placed on his chest to prolong the agonies of death. "Woe is me," cried his daughter, "that I should see thee under such terrible circumstances!" Haninah serenely replied, "I should indeed despair were I alone burned; but since the scroll of the Torah is burning with me, the Power that will avenge the offense against the law will also avenge the offense against me."
His heartbroken disciples then asked: "Master, what seest thou?" He answered: "I see the parchment burning while the letters of the Law soar upward."
"Open then thy mouth, that the fire may enter and the sooner put an end to your sufferings," advised his pupils. But Haninah replied, "It is best that He who hath given the soul should also take it away: no man may hasten his death." Thereupon the executioner removed the wool and fanned the flame, thus accelerating the end, and then himself plunged into the flames (Avodah Zarah 17b, see also Sifre, Deut. 307).
The simple meaning of the verse in Lamnetation that is quoted here in Avos is that one who suffers must accept the decree that G-d places on him in silence. That is not how R. Chanaya ben Teradyon understood the verse. Instead he saw it as prescribing a reward even for one who studies Torah alone. But in truth, Torah must be studied in public, not alone. This is so important that it must be done even in the time of persecution. When he was captured and put to death, R. Chananya did not just accept his suffering in silence; her justified Hashem's design.
On hearing his sentence, he quoted Deuteronomy 32:4, "He is the Rock, His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment"; while his wife quoted , "A God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he"; and his daughter cited Yirmiahu 32:19, "Great in counsel, and mighty in work; for Thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings" (Sifre, Deut. 307; Avodah Zarah loc. cit)