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Don't Blow It!

Thursday, 14 January, 2016 - 2:02 pm

I am not a gambler or a lottery junky. I don’t think I ever played a scratch off or put a nickel in a slot machine, but 1.4 Billion sounded pretty nice. En-route back from a lecture at UM Western, I stopped for gas in Whitehall and proceeded to purchase a few Powerball tickets. Two well-dressed gentlemen behind me were smiling and about to buy their own ticket. I said “If you win, please remember the Rabbi in Bozeman and help us build the new Synagogue”, to which one responded “Are you the Rabbi from the ElAl plane that came to Billings…”. Turns out they both work for the Gazette and were happy to meet me in person.

Sadly, so many lottery winners go bankrupt.

In this week’s Torah portion, Bo, we read of the final three plagues and the exodus of Klal Yisroel from torturous exile. Leaving Egypt was way bigger than winning the lottery, as there was zero natural possibility of getting out, and only through G-d’s supernatural miracles did they experience redemption. Yet, a few months after this great moment and just a few weeks after the revelation at Sinai, the Jewish people sinned with the Golden Calf. How’s it possible? Were they that dumb? No, they weren’t, but it takes time to leave a mindset of slavery and finitude and leap into a life of healthy freedom and miracles.

In life, we experience many winning moments. Great moments of spiritual, material or physical abundance, when we are in a good place emotionally and mentally, seeing the future as positive. Yet, it can come crashing down pretty quickly, if we don’t internalize the gift and adjust to the new circumstances. Yes, you may be inspired while praying, delighted at today’s market results or optimistic after getting high marks on your annual physical, but don’t get caught up in the superficial joy, instead channel those blessings into making the right decisions for the future. Leaving Egypt is a nice blessings but pretty worthless if you waste it on a golden calf.

Next time you win, don’t blow it!








May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Moshiach speedily. May He protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!

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