What would you do if you had the opportunity to buy a lottery ticket? Since Hashem already has set a life plan for us, is it wrong to buy a lottery ticket in hopes of becoming a multi-millionaire?
This week’s Parsha is Parshat Vayishlach. Before confronting Eisav, Yaakov made a few preparations for his meeting. He first divided the nation into three different groups, as it says in the Pasuk: “ וַיַּ֜חַץ אֶת־הָעָ֣ם אֲשֶׁר־אִתּ֗וֹ” (Perek Lamed Bet, Pasuk Chet). Only after completing this act did Yaakov daven to Hashem, two pesukim later. Wouldn’t it make sense for Yaakov to daven first, and then carry out his plan?
Even though it might not seem so, Yaakov’s plan was actually logical. For instance, if a hurricane is approaching, most people would first prepare by sealing their windows, buying extra provisions, etc. Only after completing these tasks would we daven to Hashem and ask for our actions to succeed.
Similarly, we changed one of the Brachot in the Amida this week, adding two more words. The Bracha goes from ותן ברכה to ותן טל ומטר לברכה. This change is made when winter starts. We are only saying this Bracha to ask for rain after we’ve already planted and worked the fields. After doing so, we ask Hashem that our physical efforts should work out well.
Returning to the lottery topic, this explanation should answer the initial question: yes, you can buy that lottery ticket! As much as Hashem wants to help us, he needs us to act “Biderech Hayevah”. It is not until we do our Hishtaglut and provide Hashem with a vessel through which he can help us that he will answer our Tefillot.
By: Tova Bossewitch (9th)