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Section: Parshas HaShavua   Category: Quick Vort
Parshas Eikev: Eretz Yisroel The Jewish Homeland

"For the land that you are going to possess is not like the land of Mitrayim from where you came from".  Eretz Yisroel is a land that has been claimed and coveted by many nations and religions. It is the focal point of world history. Why has Hashem granted this holy land to the Jews and placed other nations elsewhere?

We can understand this with a Mashal. There once lived a man who was blessed with a son of fine character. The young man married, and in time, he too became a father. As he was preparing for his new son's Bris Milah Party, he came to his father for advice. "How should I seat the guests?" he asked. "If I am forced to seat the rich guests in places of honor and leave the poor in positions at the end of the table, I will feel upset because I don't want to embarrass the poor. Wouldn't it be better if I placed the poor up front and place the rich at the far end of the table?" "Your intentions are most noble, my son", replied the father. "However, if you carry out your plan, none of your guests will be very happy. You see, the custom of placing the rich at the head and the poor at the end of the table is based on common sense. After all, the poor are hungry, and they care more for the food at the end of the table than the honor at the head. The rich, on the other hand, have their own delicious meal at home. When they come to a banquet, they are not seeking nourishment, but honor. This is why it is best to seat them at the head of the table, where they can receive the recognition they crave. So, my son, let the poor sit at the foot of the table, where they can eat undisturbed and out of the limelight. Let the rich sit at the head of the table, where they can receive honor.

 The same differentiation can be made between Klal Yisroel and other nations. The Goyim, like the poor at the banquet, seek only to satisfy their bodily needs. They could accomplish this in any part of the world, not only in the holy land of Eretz Yisroel. Klal Yisroel does not place its emphasis on materialistic satisfaction. Klal Yisroel has always sought the higher spiritual aspects of life. They are to be honored by the other nations of the world. Therefore they have been placed in Eretz Yisroel where the eyes of the world are fixed upon them. In this way their good deeds can be observed by all!