Answers

  1. Comparing the United States to ancient Rome seems a bit of a stretch of the imagination. Rome was an extremely evil empire that tortured our Rabbis to death, murdered, plundered, destroyed our people, country and our Temple and sent us into the exile we are still in until today.

    Regarding assimilation, is the United States to blame? While it is true that many sectors of the Jewish population are sadly assimilating in America, others are thriving. For example, Torah institutions, Yeshivot, Jewish day schools and centers for outreach and Torah study have burgeoned in the U.S. over the last 50 years. So blaming the U.S. for those who assimilate is simply an attempt to shift the burden of guilt.

    But to answer your question: Yes, you are allowed to praise even an evil country for its good acts. As an extreme example, Rabbi Yehuda B’rabbi Ilai in the Talmud (Shabbat 33b) praised the Romans for all their beneficial deeds, such as building roads, bridges, sanitation facilities, and markets, even though ancient Rome was an extremely evil empire. If this is so regarding a vicious, antagonistic government such as Rome, all the more so one should appreciate and praise a country like America for its liberties and opportunities, while resisting its tendency toward assimilation and permissiveness.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team