Israel's Unique Qualities

When B'nai Yisrael were about to enter the land of Israel, Moshe explained to them that the Land of Israel would be different from Egypt (Devarim, Parshat Ekev 11:10-11) "The land which you are arriving to inherit is not like the land of Egypt, from which you departed, where you planted your seed and watered it on foot like a vegetable garden. Rather, the land where you are crossing to inherit is a land of mountains and plains- by the rains of the skies will you drink water."

Rashi explains that there are good points and bad points to both lands when he comments on the words "vehishkita viraglecha", "watered it on foot".

In the land of Egypt, you had to bring the water from the Nile on foot in order to irrigate it. You had to lose sleep, to toil. The lowlands could be irrigated but the highlands could not and you had to bring the water up from the low areas to the high ones.

In the land of Israel, "By the rains of the skies will you drink water." You can sleep in your bed while God irrigates lowland and highland, opened and closed areas alike.

In a way, Egypt sounds better since the water is already in the Nile. You only have to depend on God once a year to make the Nile overflow to moisten the soil in order to plant seeds. On a daily basis, man is in control. He doesn't have to wait for God to make it rain.

On the other hand, Israel sounds better since you won't have to carry the water over your shoulders and irrigate the land on foot. You can sleep well without having to worry about doing the heavy physical labor and your plants will be taken care of.

Although B'nai Yisrael will not have to do the physical labor of carrying the water, they will have to do spiritual labor by observing the mitzvoth. God is watching our actions.

In the next sentence, Devarim 11:12 we read: "The land of Israel is a land that God looks after, the eyes of God are always upon it, from the year's beginning to the year's end".

During these difficult times I have seen numerous acts of kindness. Residents of central Israel are hosting complete strangers from Northern Israel for an indefinite period of time. Food and other essentials are being donated to families who have left their homes and soldiers that are in the field. Toys R Us is even running a toy drive to collect toys to distribute in bomb shelters.

Let's hope and pray that through these acts of kindness we will overcome our obstacles. Israel is truly different in so many ways from any other land. May God continue to watch over and protect the land of Israel.