Kollel Milhamta Shel Torah of Queens A Spiritual Home for Torah and Tefillah

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If our fate is decided between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, why do we pray the rest of the year?

At every moment, a man can reverse the decision. Everything thatGd decides on Yom Kippur is decided conditionally.

For instance, a man is inscribed for life until next year. But suppose he decides that he wants to jump off a roof. Gd says, “Go ahead and do it.” Everything is determined on condition that you don’t choose to frustrate it. If a man wants to lose what he would have gained by the decision on Yom Kippur, it is his privilege to forfeit it.

Of course, there are certain limits to this concept, but in general, this is the truth. All of Gd’s decrees are subject to certain restrictions. Even if an evil decree was issued, Heaven forbid, genuine teshuvah (repentance) and crying out with all one’s heart can help in some cases, because the decree was issued conditionally, subject to change through teshuvah.

Therefore, it always pays for a person to utilize every opportunity for prayer. It could be that what was decreed for him was merely conditional, and his prayer will overturn it.

Are there any objections to religious Jews playing state lottery games? 

Lotteries existed already in Europe, and it wasn’t considered wrong, even for religious Jews, to buy a lottery ticket. However, some Jews go too far, and that leads to trouble. It’s like drinking wine for kiddush – it’s a good thing, but drinking too much wine, or drinking all the time, is not good.

What happens is that people start hanging around these places and putting all their money into it. You even have some fools who think they have perfected the system and know how to win. There are actually fools like that! I know all about it because I have to deal with them. I argued with one. His wife called me and said that all her family’s money is going down the drain, paying for lottery tickets. I spoke to the husband, and he told me that he had a system which he was following and which made him bound to win – only that it didn’t happen yet. His big win was always right around the corner. A fool!

Questions and Answers supplied by TorasAvigdor.org. (Tapes #555 and 491). The answers are taken directly from the words of Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l, but have been slightly edited to allow for easier reading.