The boys who came to learn were sometimes followed by parents and other family members. This was the case with one particular set of brothers; shortly after their arrival in Samarkand, their parents wanted to join them. The eldest son had to go to work to prepare an economic base to enable his parents and sister to arrive. He signed up to work at one of the factories run by a Lubavitcher in Samarkand, while the younger brother joined the yeshiva.

In the Soviet Union of those years, the government paid the salaries of all employees. In order to to save money, every now and then the government forced its employees to receive ten percent of their salary in lottery tickets. In truth, this scheme of course saved the government many millions, as the total value of profits from lottery sales amounted to millions of rubles, while covering the cost of the few winning tickets cost the state a mere few thousand. The smallest prize was worth twenty rubles, and the first prize was the most expensive Russian car, the Moskvitch.

Of course everyone preferred to receive cash rather than lottery tickets, which generally did not result in a profit. But since people had already received lottery tickets, once the grand drawing took place, each employee would check the paper where the winning numbers were published, to see if he might find his name. The newspapers would publish the winning numbers only a week or so after the official drawing, but the winner of the first prize would be announced that very day on several radio stations. Everyone would listen to the radio broadcast, hoping that maybe his luck had finally struck and that he would be the lucky winner. In order to win the coveted prize, both numbers had to match: the number of the specific ticket and the number of the series.

One day, after this older brother heard the number of the first prize winner on the radio, he rushed like everyone else to check his ticket, and his eyes widened in amazement: the number on his ticket perfectly matched the number read on the radio, but regarding the number of the series of tickets, something was strange: his ticket had a three-digit serial number, while the radio announcer read only two digits!

The older brother waited with bated breath for the newspapers to publish the winners, to find out whether his series number was right or not. But, the paper would only come out a week after the official draw, and in the meantime he became so stressed that he could not sleep or eat. He lost weight, and he felt like he was losing his mind: at one moment he felt as though he had become rich overnight, and at the next, he thought that if the missing number turns out to be different from his serial number, then his dreams would end, and he will have to continue to work hard for a living.

He shared his torment only with us, his closest friends. During that week, he went to the newsstands every few hours to see if the newspaper came out, until the salespeople were sick of his peculiar interest.

The week finally passed, the newspaper arrived, and it turned out that the serial number on his ticket was identical to the lottery draw and that of the first prize—the Moskvitch car!

Winning the lottery ticket of the car was actually worth twice the price of the car itself: In the USSR you could not be rich openly. Rich people and business owners in the black market were afraid to show their wealth, so as not to be taken to the KGB for an investigation into the source of their income. A wealthy person was willing to pay twice the price of a Moskvitch for a raffle ticket that entitled him to the best car in the country; he could openly drive the car around, and if anyone else were to ask how he had money for a car, he could wave his lottery ticket. Such a rich, discreet, person was sought after, and after one was found in Tashkent, the brother had found his prosperity.

We were all happy for him. We saw how he worked hard for a living, and we were especially happy that winning the grand prize meant he could move his parents and family to join him Samarkand, where they would be able to live comfortably.