My favorite lottery story is about the family who discovered that their elderly father had picked the winning number and won multi-millions! But the old man had a weak heart, and his kids were worried that with his condition, the news may give him a heart attack. So they asked his cardiologist to break the news gently and be on hand in case the excitement affected his heart.

The doctor agreed and went to see his patient. He started the conversation rather harmlessly: “Hey Sam, what would you say if I told you that you had won the lottery?

Sam answered, “Hey doc, if I won the lottery, I’d give you half!

The doctor dropped dead on the spot of a heart attack.

The word Purim means “lots.” Haman put 12 slips of paper into his hat (which, for the record, did not have three corners) and drew lots to determine in which Hebrew month to kill the Jews. The lot fell on the month of Adar.

Now, a little knowledge is dangerous, you know, and Haman knew that Moses had died in Adar and saw that as a good omen for his plot’s success. What He did not realize, however, was that Moses was also born in Adar, and it was, in fact, not a good omen for him at all.

If I was looking to name this holiday, I don’t think I would have chosen the name PurimLots. It’s rather dull and unimaginative. Imagine Steven Spielberg made a movie of the Purim story—and it is indeed worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster—what do you think he would call it? Definitely not “Lots.”

There is, however, a deep meaning behind the Sages’ choice of this name.

Haman viewed life as one big lottery. It’s all the luck of the draw, the roll of the dice, a spin of the wheel, or a flip of the coin. Heads you win, tails you lose. Heads you live, tails you die. Haman believed that everything is random. He denied the concept of Divine Providence, that G‑d is the Master of the Universe and runs the world.

And to that, we, the Jewish people, say a defiant “No!” Life is not random! Life is meaningful and purposeful and how we live our lives is reflected by how G‑d deals with us. We are not dependent on nature or logic; we live by the miraculous.

Logically, we shouldn’t even exist.

For us Jews, miracles are the norm. That’s how we survived until now and that’s how we continue to survive today. Jewish survival and Jewish life defy the very laws of nature.

And that brings us back to the story of Purim.

Logically, it made no sense whatsoever for the Jews of Persia to be threatened with genocide. In Persia, a relatively enlightened society, the Jews were granted freedom and civil rights They were even invited to the king’s party. And suddenly, they were facing the threat of total annihilation? It made no sense at all. It came out of the blue.

But while it was not logical, it was not random either.

You see, they went to the king’s party, the mother of all parties that lasted not a day, not a week, not a month, but 6 months! “180 days,” says the Megillah. And while there are different opinions as to whether they ate non-kosher food or not, it was still an act of Jewish shame, debasement, and humiliation. At that party, King Achashverosh displayed the sacred vessels of our Holy Temple that Queen Vashti’s grandfather, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, had looted when he destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem.

Can you just imagine … our holy golden Menorah being used as a prop? As décor for this wild, drunken party? What a disgrace to Jewish self-respect, to Jewish pride and principle.

And because of that loss of our own self-respect, Haman’s decree of genocide was sanctioned by G‑d.

It wasn’t until we repented and changed our ways that we were saved by a miracle through the brave efforts of Queen Esther and her cousin Mordechai.

Now let’s have a look at the solution. It came through the intervention of the courageous Queen Esther, arguably the greatest Jewish heroine in all of history.

What did Esther do? She went to see the king. Uninvited. Unannounced. She took her life in her hands, because if the king wasn’t happy to see her, it could have easily been off with her head, just like Vashti. Indeed, Esther was afraid; she hadn’t been summoned to see him for a whole month.

So before she went, she asked Mordechai to have all the Jews fast and pray for her success. She, too, fasted for three days before approaching King Achashverosh.

Logically, fasting was the very last thing Esther should have done! Surely, she should’ve tried to look her very best and make a favorable impression with the drunken, degenerate despot.

But no. What does Esther do? She fasts and prays to G‑d. She fasts for three days! You know what you look like after one Yom Kippur? Can you imagine what you look like after three Yom Kippurs?!

The Jewish people, too, took the least logical path. Did you know that according to commentary1 they could have saved their lives by giving up their faith?

But no. For the entire year that Haman’s decree was in place, not one Jew gave up his or her faith. Not one!

The bottom line? Jews are not normal. No, we’re not meshuga. But we play by different rules. We are not a nation like other nations. Our existence and survival are determined not by the lottery, political science, diplomatic initiatives, or the normal laws of nature, but by G‑d Almighty and His infinite Divine Providence. When we daven, when Esther fasts, when we return to G‑d with all our hearts, then miracles happen.2

And Esther understood this. That’s why she didn’t do all the things a normal woman would have done to make an impression on the King. She knew she had to make an impression not on King Achashverosh, but on the King of Kings, G‑d Almighty.

So, no, life is not the luck of the draw, or the roll of the dice. Life is not random. We didn’t survive millennia of adversities by good fortune or coincidence, nor by being clever and resourceful. Life is meaningful and purposeful and Jewish life must be authentically Jewish. Only then, do we merit the Divine Providence and heavenly protection that despite all odds, no matter the circumstances, we will prevail and still be here to tell the tale.

May we continue to experience the miracle of Jewish survival until the ultimate and imminent miracle of Moshiach.