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Is This Your Ten Million Dollars?

Is This Your Ten Million Dollars?


Congratulations. Your e‑mail has been randomly selected to win a cash prize of $10,000,000.00 (ten million dollars). This lottery is sponsored by big computer companies to encourage Internet usage. To claim your prize, please contact claim manager Mr. James Bell, and quote ticket number 012fg25/951 within 2 (two) weeks of receiving this notification.

Again, congratulations, and we hope to hear from you very soon.

Vince Valentino,
Winner’s Notification Department
E‑mail Lottery

Dear Vince,

I would like to thank you for 2 (two) things. Firstly, for spelling out the numbers for me, as I have trouble reading them otherwise. Secondly, for the kind offer to receive $10,000,000.00 (ten million dollars). But I am afraid I will have to decline. I cannot accept this prize, as it goes against my beliefs.

I do not doubt your sincerity, but I cannot believe that I have really won this prize. According to my tradition, if something is not earned, it is not really yours. The world we live in is called the “world of toil.” Nothing comes easy in this world, and if it does, then it disappears just as easily. Only what I have earned is truly mine. Even an inheritance, if not carefully guarded and actively protected, will wither away in time. To receive true blessing, I must create a vessel to contain that blessing. The vessel is my effort, and without it the blessing spills to the floor, never really becoming mine.

I know this because I have inherited a great fortune. I am Jewish. This means I am heir to 4,000 (four thousand) years of spiritual riches and moral achievement. My life is inspired by the wisdom and insight developed over 4 (four) millennia. My marriage benefits from the accumulated experience of 500 (five hundred) generations of marriages. The richness of Jewish tradition belongs to me, but I dare not take this inheritance for granted.

If I am not actively Jewish, if I do not invest in my spiritual traditions, if I do not engage my mind and heart in my Jewishness and make it my own, then it will fade. If I want to keep this grand inheritance and bequeath it to my children, then I have to work at it. I cannot rely on my ancestors’ spirituality, I need to put effort into making my own spiritual connection.

This is why we refer to G‑d as “Our G‑d, and G‑d of our fathers.” Only when we develop our own relationship with G‑d can we benefit from the relationship He had with our ancestors. When we experience Him as our G‑d, then we can also benefit from His being the G‑d of our fathers.

So Vince, I must politely decline your offer. I didn’t even so much as buy a ticket in your lottery, so I don’t feel it can really be mine.

Anyway, with my Jewish inheritance, I am rich already.

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to
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Discussion (29)
January 21, 2013
Well done and thank you!
I personally absolutely loved your letter and response to the scam letter!! I myself have received when in Australia recently a few such letters saying I have won millions. So what if your response wasn;t read, the chance that it might have been made it all worth while. And if it wasn;t read by the scammer it was read by me ..and I just loved it !! Yes what a wonderful rich inheritance we have and what a wonderful opportunity to remind us of those amazing stats,how rich we are in our emunah and our history. I thought your response was great and thank you for sharing it. Toda raba .
July 27, 2012
What happened to tzedaka?
That money was a golden opportunity for tzedaka, significant, impacting tzedaka.

The issue has nothing to do with him "earning" it or not. And how could he have known if he earned it anyway? Perhaps he earned it from good deeds in a previous lifetime. We didn't earn the home we grew up in, our parents, or our life from what we've toiled in this lifetime, so perhaps we've earned them in part through work in a previous lifetime.

The Rabbi should have realized that this is Divine Providence and maximized the opportunity to do good to the world.

Too bad, though his ultimate decision was hasgacha protis as well.

It was probably a scam anyway, and perhaps the Rabbi realized this and therefore wrote this letter.
Kayla Reina Miriam
Newton, MA
July 27, 2012
the greater Lottery
I think life is a lot, like, a Lottery. I could have been born into an impoverished African tribe, and I could be one of those babies, withered and dying, and needing the helping hand of some organization providing baby's milk for free. We are all born into families of varying wealth and ability to care for us and we all suffer too, in different ways, from conflictual relationships and the issues life brings to the table. But for those really impoverished, it seems it's that mitzvah of giving we're discussing endlessly on Chabad, so yes to Fruma, we can WIN the individual lotteries, though the chances are slim, and give generously of this money to all these charities. I am humbled by the great needs, around the world.

If this is what money is for, then to give would be the MESSAGE and to give would be not to refrain from getting. The refrain as in the music that is echoic wherever I look has to do with tikkun olam.
ruth housman
marshfield hills, ma
July 25, 2012
Ten million dollars
Assuming t's not a scam, this rabbi is entirely too self-centered and self-righteous. Nowhere in this letter is the requirement that he spend any of it on himself.
How many hungry and homeless people could this windfall have helped? Would he have refused to eat the manna because he hadn't worked for it? Apparently he felt that he was important enough to hear the actual voice of God telling him to take the money and use it for those who needed help. Well, he wasn't Moses.
So the money went to someone else, who also could decide what to do with it. Let's hope the next winner made a better choice.
Delray Beach, Fla
July 25, 2012
I was thinking, that often the purpose of Lotteries is to raise monies for works that could not otherwise be paid, as in special projects that do involve the particular state where the Lottery is being held. So in paying for this, as in taking a ticket, it's a kind of mitzvah. Just something that occurred to me. The chances of winning are slim, but somebody always wins.
I believe there was research into the happiness of winners of jackpots and the answer was that surprisingly their lives were not happier, and often more complicated than before. So that's an interesting factoid, if true.

I have found that people who receive such letters, even beautiful ones, rarely read them, and even more rarely, do they respond. The response is coming from US!
ruth housman
marshfield hills, ma
July 25, 2012
My former Rabbi bought Lotto tickets
When I lived in Brooklyn (not in Crown Heights), I attended an orthodox synagogue where the rabbi was a Lubavitcher. He was a prominent rabbi and a teacher in the Lubavitch yeshiva on Ocean Parkway. I would often spent Shabbos with his family. One day I noticed a lottery ticket on his table. I was quite surprised, almost shocked. I asked him why he bought a lottery ticket. He answered that he was providing a way for Hashem to get money to him. I said nothing in response. I will never forget it.
Deerfield Beach, FL
July 25, 2012
I officially wasted 5-10 minutes of my time reading that. Not to mention the time i'm taking to respond to it.. That had scam written all over it. Why in the world would an educated person, especially a Rabbi waste thier time in responding to that. His message was beautiful, but should have been saved for a shabbos or yom tov speech. This "vince" person probably doesn't even exist and the Rabbi's message probably went to the recycling bin.
philadelphia, pa
July 25, 2012
unearned - so what?

If we can only keep money that we earned, how can we have inheritences?And what about wedding presents, etc.?

And I agree with S. Katz, Brooklyn. If H-shem gives you a present, He wants you to have it and why thow it back in His face? Maybe you dovened for livlihood and He answered your prayers. Unless, of course , it's from an immoral source and then it is not a present but a test, and you should pass the test and refuse the money.
Jerusalem, Israel
July 25, 2012
Let's assume that this isn't a scam and the person has indeed won $10000. It makes me remember the story of the man who was out to sea on a life boat after his ship sank. He prays for G-d to save him. A helicopter comes by to offer assistance, but he refuses, saying he's waiting for G-d to save him. A ship comes by, but once again he refuses for the same reason. Unfortunately he drowns and when he gets to Heaven, he asks G-d why he didn't save him, whereupon G-d replies "who do you think sent the helicopter and the ship?" Now even though this analogy is not exactly the same as winning a lottery, nevertheless, I believe it was sent to him by G-d in order to give him the opportunity to do much good - that is his choice, not whether he accepts it or not, but what he does with it. How fortunate one would be to be given such an opportunity - what an awesome responsibility too. I believe one would have to be brave to utilise such a G-d given privilege.
Johannesburg, SA
July 24, 2012
Some workers get paid, in advance.
This was most likely a scam, but in the extremely microscopically slight chance, it might not have been, it could be advance payment by G-d for work to be done later.

To raise a child from birth, even to the point of being able to start doing chores around the house, requires advance payment of all the time money and resources, needed for the child to grow to that point (and far beyond, G-d willing).

Such money could be seen as just the beginning of the work.

It could be used to start a business which could provide plenty of jobs for people who otherwise would be unable to find employment or loans to them, to start their own businesses or funds for scholars to g o to yeshivah or a foundation that would invest the money and use the growing resources to fund things like this.

Administering something like would be a great mitzvah and would require plenty of work so by no means would it be "free".
Use it, don't lose it.
bkln, N.Y.
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