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Is This Your Ten Million Dollars?

Is This Your Ten Million Dollars?

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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
Amsterdam


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 Chabad.org.
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Anonymous Camarillo, CA, USA March 1, 2015

Response to comments of Ruth, Fruma, and Kayla It was a scam, and the Rabbi knew it was a scam, so he was not rejecting money that could have been used for charity or any other good purpose. He knew it could not help anyone.

He also wasn't wasting time writing the response. Maybe the scammer won't read it, but readers of this website will.

He was using the scam letter for the only useful purpose he could -- as part of this article which you are criticizing. That was maximizing its value. Reply

Christine NJ June 19, 2014

Hope the reply wasn't wasted... To those who asked if it is real... Typically they ask the responder's bank account number and PIN so they can deposit it directly, then rob you. Or, perhaps they need your social security number "for tax purposes".

But I hope that the scammer reads and thinks upon what was said as a reply. Perhaps they will consider what is said and decide to pursue G-d instead of thievery. I have, in the past, suggested that my "winnings" can be forwarded to local charities for those less fortunate, or in some cases, replied with the previous scammer's contact info. But perhaps a message like this one will catch someone's attention and make them reconsider the lifestyle. Reply

Alona Israel Covington June 16, 2014

The Ten Million Dollar Lottery Aaron, I wish I had a printer to print out your comments. It is so well spoken. God gave the Hebrews an inheritance and they lost it because the knowledge of it was not past down from generation to generation. Now that inheritance is lost, but it is slowly being found again. One thing about an inheritance though is that it is an inheritance and only the inheritor can get it. It can't be won in a lottery or stolen away as long as there is a written document of ownership (the Bible). Reply

Jane 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 . Reply

Kayla Reina Miriam Newton, MA 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. Reply

ruth housman marshfield hills, 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. Reply

Fruma Delray Beach, Fla 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. Reply

ruth housman marshfield hills, ma July 25, 2012

Lotteries 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! Reply

Anonymous Deerfield Beach, FL 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. Reply

Anonymous philadelphia, pa July 25, 2012

llottery 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. Reply

Rina Jerusalem, Israel 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. Reply

Anonymous Johannesburg, SA 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. Reply

Use it, don't lose it. bkln, N.Y. 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". Reply

ruth housman marshfield, ma July 24, 2012

The Lottery I think this was an obvious scam. However Jews do play The Lottery and yes, I believe this article to be a beautiful response but I can also see gifting the money to worthwhile causes around the world. That would be a mitzva. It is sobering to realize All comes from a Divine Source and so to do exceptionallly well at anything in terms of monetary recompense involves that understanding. How much do we really need? This question extends to those who reap great financial rewards from their work. It seems unconscionable not to give back in responsible ways. Reply

hmp Asheville July 24, 2012

Scam email A lot of effort replying to a phony email scam

I get a dozen like this a week. Reply

Anonymous Penang, Malaysia July 23, 2012

Thank you, I can't believe God is that kind, maybe in other ways but not that way ! Reply

Steven Katz Brooklyn, NY July 23, 2012

So much good could be done I feel that something is being overlooked. Hashem doesn't give you something without a reason. Perhaps a good portion of that money was supposed to be used for helping fund one or more charities, for helping with education, bettering oneself.
Yes, there are temptations to misuse the gift and that may have been part of the test. But Judaism frowns on a life of asceticism. Reply

Shais ben Yisroel Reston, VA July 23, 2012

of course, it's a scam and how many of us would be commenting on it, including the author, if we had had to pay for the privilege? Reply

Gabi Dublin, Ireland (EU) July 23, 2012

Feature Article-The Nine(9)Days-Is this your ten.. Please understand that Rabbi was NOT talking about money here, but about real values. He wants to (if I understood correctly):
- warn us before those people who offer us what we already have (typical feature of evil)
- encourage us to be strong against unrealistic images, for example easy money, or rather, promises thereof - pointing out possible bad consequences (from uselessness of such resources to self-destruction)
- assure us of God's help to support and provide for us always, and remind us of the real treasure that's inside us, which no one can take away - the values of honest business and good family, proven by generations.

In my own experience, we always receive all we need, but then also - only as much as we need. Any 'extras' are for re-distribution - investment, charity, etc. These extras are unlikely to arrive in unassuming ways, and even if we did receive and claim the 'prize' (I think this was the main point) - we wouldn't be any richer than we already are now. Reply

Anonymous Florida, USA July 22, 2012

Where's G-d's share? From those respondants who have shared what they'd do with $10 million, why wasn't G-d the first recipient of this windfall instead of the One who got the left-overs? Reply