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Commentators have asked: "Why did God choose the Land of Israel for us?" It is not as rich and fertile as the Nile valley or Mesopotamia, it has few natural resources, it has no oil, it's tough to survive there, it is at the crossroads of three continents, which guarantees invasions and wars, etc. Many reasons were given, but I want to focus on one: Moses said that God has a special relationship with it:

It is a land which your God יהוה looks after, on which your God יהוה always keeps an eye, from year’s beginning to year’s end. [Deut. 11:12]

Any speculation on why God has that special attraction to the Land?

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The Gemara in Taanis 10A states that Israel was created first and the rest of the world came after:

תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן: אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל נִבְרֵאת תְּחִילָּה וְכׇל הָעוֹלָם כּוּלּוֹ נִבְרָא לְבַסּוֹף, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״עַד לֹא עָשָׂה אֶרֶץ וְחוּצוֹת״

The Sages taught in a baraita: Eretz Yisrael was created first and the rest of the entire world was created afterward, as it is stated: “While as yet He had not made the land, nor the fields” (Proverbs 8:26). Here, and in the following statements, the term “land” is understood as a reference to the Land of Israel, while “the fields” means all the fields in other lands

The Maharsha in Chidushei Aggados on that Gemara explains that it is coming to explain why Eretz Yisrael is so special. Since it was created first, Hashem Himself takes care of it, while the rest of the world is handled through angels.

The fact that there are materialistic benefits elsewhere does not affect its status, as the attraction of the land of Israel is primarily spiritual.

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  • But this just says the land was special to God. It doesn't say why. Jul 13, 2023 at 0:54
  • Because it was the first
    – Chatzkel
    Jul 13, 2023 at 1:08
  • But it must have been created first for a reason, no? Jul 13, 2023 at 1:11
  • He has to start from somewhere?
    – Chatzkel
    Jul 13, 2023 at 1:12
  • Like a back and forth machloket straight from the Gemara😂 Jul 13, 2023 at 1:47
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Following in the vein of @Chatzkel, according to Bamidbar Rabbah 12:4, God created the world starting from the Even HaShtiah (the "Foundation Stone" on the Temple Mount). Mishnah Kelim 1:6-1:9 discusses the gradations of holiness, centering on the Holy of Holies (the site of the Foundation Stone (see Yoma 53b)). Since the Temple Mount, and by extension Jerusalem and the Land of Israel, are inherently holy to God, it seems He would naturally want to place His holy nation in His holy land.

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  • Why would it be "inherently holy" ? It is the men who gave to those place their holiness: the Beit Din can add to Jerusalem, before the construction of (at least 1st) Beit Hamikdach the place was not holy, it's even a mahloket if it is now...
    – EzrielS
    Jul 13, 2023 at 10:14
  • I disagree. Deuteronomy 16:8, 16:11, and 26:14 all refer to the "holy city, " which is understood by our tradition and also by scholars to mean Jerusalem. Those words did not emanate from the Beit Din. While the Sages might have had the ability to define the boundaries of certain, holy spaces, they did not make them holy to begin with. As to "why" God decided to make this particular land holy, He doesn't always reveal his reasoning, but most poskim starting with the Rambam do hold the Land is still sacred, and will always be. Jul 13, 2023 at 15:01

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