So, it seems that the economy is finally crawling out of this dreadful slump. Thankfully, it appears that those who predicted that this recession would become a depression were overly pessimistic. The upward momentum has been continuing for a while, and its start coincides more or less with President Obama's taking office.

(Disclaimer: I’m aware that many claim that this is only a blip, and the economy is far from real recovery. I’m not an economist, so I have no opinion on the matter—I’m just writing based on the vibes I’m getting from news reports over the past few months. And, of course, I sure hope that we are on the road to recovery!)

Wow! He did it! His stimulus packages, combined with his strong leadership qualities, have steadied the nation's nerves and restored confidence in the markets. Let's punch him in for a second term... now! He is the one our nation has so desperately been waiting for!

"Not so fast..." my conservative friends interrupt my gush-fest. "This has nothing to do with Obama. Government spending does not cause growth. Obama's spending package is filled with pork and will most certainly bankrupt the country in the long term. He's saddling the next ten generations of Americans with unbearable debt!

"And by the way, the economy failed under Bush only because of Clinton's irresponsible policies! And Reagan... look how he revived the economy that Carter destroyed!"

"Hmph," I think. "So perhaps my exuberance about Obama was misguided. Too bad that Dubya couldn't run for a third term..."

But when I mention this to a so-Left-that-he-refuses-to-drive-a-British-car friend, his umbrage is frightening. "Bush is the one who was caught sleeping at the wheel. He did nothing to regulate the sub-prime loan industry that got us into this mess!

"Look at when Clinton was President—those were truly days of prosperity, which, of course, Obama will reintroduce..."

On a similar note, who's to blame for not preventing 9-11? Clinton for not tenaciously pursuing Bin Laden when he was in Sudan? Or Bush for not addressing the Al-Qaeda threat as soon as he assumed office?

Depends on whether you ask an elephant or a donkey, of course...

That's what's so interesting about the American system: the electorate never allows one party to remain in power for long enough to be able to give it indisputable credit or blame for anything.

I think that many of us can find applications of this idea on a personal level, especially in our relationships. How often do we blame others, especially those whom we don't respect, for all ills (including perhaps some we are responsible for...) and take credit for achievements (that just maybe really are attributable to that guy we can't stand...)?

But I think that this idea can also be applied in terms of Judaism, and specifically our endeavor to guarantee the perpetuity of our beautiful heritage.

There's a philosophy that has been in place for more than 3,000 years. This philosophy has ensured that, in spite of all odds, despite those who used hate (and sometimes enticing warmth) to make us disappear, we are still very much here. Miffed sociologists notwithstanding, we've been through it all, and we still read every Shabbat from a scroll that is identical to the one read by our ancestors millennia ago. We still eat the same matzah on Passover, and have the same mezuzah on our doors.

And throughout these millennia, there have been Jews who thought that they could improve upon the system given at Sinai. They tried their hand; they failed. Nothing remains of these groups or their adherents. Whoever identifies him or herself as a Jew today invariably has a parent, grandparent or great-grandparent who followed the "Sinai philosophy."

There comes a time when whether we agree or disagree with a certain view, we have no choice but to accept the fact that it works—while others don't.

So I may not know who gets credit for the resurgent economy, but I sure do know why I, a proud Jew, am here today.