With the assurance of unstinted blessing for adherence to Torah, the Torah describes in chilling terms the inevitable results of repudiation of Torah. Our generation has witnessed the literal fulfillment of these predictions. We American Jews may thank G‑d with every breath that we were spared that experience.

There is one promise - or threat - that applies neatly to American Jews. In describing the situation of Jews exiled from the Holy Land, the Torah says: I will send a faintness into their hearts; the sound of a fluttering leaf shall chase them; they shall flee as from a sword, and fall with none pursuing.1

The drawback is less in America than in the hearts of JewsNever was a Jewish community more secure, wealthier, and more powerful then ours today. Thank G‑d, proofs of anti-Semitism are reduced virtually to the level of restricted country clubs and resort hotels. In a world where Jewish lives are frequently in jeopardy, our problems are still endurable. America's freedom is more than economic and political - it will in many ways actually encourage observance of commandments.

The drawback is less in America than in the hearts of Jews. A leaf rustles, and we wave persuasive columns of statistics to prove that Jews are patriotic and are really very fine people. We tremulously flinch from swords, even where "none pursue." Certainly we have enemies, dangerous ones, but isn't at least part of the threat the "faintness in the heart"? Could we not expend more energy, time, and treasure in strengthening Judaism, developing courageous and literate Jews, instead of being obsessed with the attitudes of Gentiles?