I once heard of a man who was in dire need of money. He was a man of emunah and asked a rabbi if it would still be keeping with emunah to buy lottery tickets. The rabbi responded saying that to buy one ticket would be fine because who knows if that was how Hashem would bless him with the money he needed. But if he bought more than one, that would be playing the odds and not keeping with emunah at all. It doesn't matter how many tickets are out there, Hashem is King and all He needs is one.
Here in Philadelphia there have been a couple of back to back ladies functions which included a Chinese auction and a raffle. I am not so into such things since I seem to not have such 'luck' with them, but one was offering a trip to Israel and I am always up for a way to get back home. So with the above story in my mind and a lack of fundage in my pocket I bought one ticket and put it in the trip to Israel. Well, since none of you heard me screaming with joy, you can guess I did not win the trip. Of course I was disappointed but I trusted that if Hashem wanted me to go He would have made sure that inspite of the abundance of tickets in the box, mine would have surely been the golden one. Obviously the other person who won needed to go more than I did. (I made the aside comment that the reason I did not win was because the next time I go, I am not coming back.)
OK, auction/raffle take two:
This past Sunday was the other ladies event and auction. As I browsed all the interesting and lovely items up for raffle there was one item that I really became fond of and was interested in winning. I debated and debated and the more I debated the more I wanted it. I kept peeking at the bag that the tickets went into and my odds look more than good. I thought to myself that's it, a sure thing! So I placed my ticket in, confident the prize was mine.
Very soon after, the time came to start announcing the raffle winners. I was eager to collect my prize. After all, I waited until the last minute to put my ticket in. As they announced my prize you can only imagine my shock as my mouth dropped open and they called someone else's name and ticket!
How could it be?! I really lost?! I was truly devastated. I could not believe it. I was supposed to win that prize, it was a for sure thing wasn't it?
As I dejectedly walked to my car I asked Hashem what had happened.
Why? How come?
The answer came quickly as I was reminded of the story I first shared with you.
Emunah is as emunah does.
How is it that I thought I was playing the odds? I was supposed to win right? The odds were in my favor weren't they? Wrong on both counts, because the truth is, there are no odds. Only Hashem.
Hashem made it very clear that day that He is king. It doesn't matter if there are a million tickets in there or the box is empty and you think yours stands alone. He alone ordains who wins and who loses. All He needs is one, yours or someone elses.
But who really lost? It was all for tzedakah and I learned a valuable lesson in the process. Remember all that Hashem does is good and for our good, right?
Of course right!
I have a question. Or three.
9 months ago