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.