The lottery has ballooned to over 1.5 billion dollars (with a B)! Many people, even those who usually do not play the lottery, are buying tickets. How do they expect to win? Hasn’t our financial well-being already been decided on the High Holidays? 

Most people will not win. They are purchasing permission to dream. However, we can pray that even if G-d didn’t ordain us to become millionaires, He can change his mind and confer that money to us. (Note: Many lottery winners go broke within 5 years.)

A blessing and a prayer are different. 

Generally, according to the mystics, a blessing simply reveals what is already ordained. A blessing transfers from potential to reality. I bless you that you reveal your hidden talents.

A prayer on the other hand, often starts with “May it be your will L-rd our G-d King of the universe”. The reason they start like this is because we are asking G-d to create a reality that did not exist before. 

Are we limited by what we are destined for, based on what was decided on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur? Yes. Can we override that ruling? Yes. Through prayer. Prayer can create a new and better reality.

If you were ordained to become a millionaire or a billionaire on the High Holidays, I bless you to win so it’s easy to reveal that. If not, I pray that if it will positively impact your life and the lives of those around you than you should win.

If that kind of wealth isn’t something you want, (or is not good for you, even if you want) don’t waste the money buying a ticket. 

Have a great Shabbos!

Rabbi Mendel Schusterman

Thanks to my brother, Rabbi Kushi Schusterman, of Chabad of Harford County, MD, for sharing the above thought.