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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 (32)
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.
Camarillo, CA, USA
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.
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).
Alona Israel
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
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