http://revach.net/article.php?id=5053

Section: Galus & Geula   Category: Eretz Yisroel
Parshas Behar: Rav Shimshon Pincus - Eretz Yisroel Is a Gift, France Is An Identity
Why by the Mitzva of Shmitta does it say that Hashem commanded it at Har Sinai Rashi brings the famous answer and the Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh offers a different answer. The Ohr HaChaim says that the mitzva of Shmitta begins, "when you come to the land I give to you". Since it is assur to give a Matnas Chinam to a non-Jew the Torah tells us that Hashem only gave us the land after Matan Torah and a Matnas Chinam was no longer assur.

Rav Shimshon Pincus asks if so how did Hashem give land ,gratis, to all the other nations? He answers that the land the other nations have was not a gift to a group of people. It is the land itself that created that identity. The Italian people did not get a gift of Italy, they become Italian by living there. On the other hand Bnei Yisroel's identity is not drawn from an association with any land. Our identity is that of the people who left Mitzrayim and stood at Har Sinai. Eretz Yisroel? That is a gift that the Jewish nation received from Hashem and not a cause of our being.