The Gaon Rabbi Yaakov, known throughout Europe as the Dubno Maggid, was a brilliant orator and scholar. He was never speechless and he always had a parable or a story from the Torah to dit the occasion. In his younger years he was a merchant and he usually traveled around the country. It was only when he lost his business and became poverty stricken that he took to the pulpit and traveled from town to town lecturing and telling stories.
Once, while still a merchant, he reaches a small town near Berdichev. It was Erev Shabbos and he stopped of at a nearby inn to inquire the way to Berdichev. The innkeeper seeing an opportunity to secure a customer for Shabbos, said that Berdichev was very far and the merchant should spend Shabbos at the hotel. Realizing he had no choice, Rabbi Yaakov remained at the hotel for Shabbos. After Shabbos he paid the hotelkeeper and departed for his destination.
A number of years later, after he had become a Maggid, he happened upon the same hotel on an Erev Shabbos. He told the hotelkeeper he was a Maggid with an engagement to speak in Berdichev and inquired how far it was to the town. The hotelkeeper did not recognize the former merchant and thought he was a poor preacher, without money to pay for lodging and food. He told him that the town was very close and if he rushed he could make it there before Shabbos.
The Maggid smiled and told the hotelkeeper that now he understood the Pasuk in Yermiyahu, “Why did the land become lost? Because they had forsaken My Torah.” The Maggid had never quite understood what Yermiyahu meant. Land does not become lost, it is always in existence. But now the Maggid understood what the Navi meant. When he was a successful merchant, the hotelkeeper said the town of Berdichev was too far to reach before Shabbos. Now that he was just a Maggid, an orator of Torah, the distance was no longer as great. How did part of the land shrink (become lost), because the hotelkeeper had forsaken the Torah.