Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Vayeshev - 5773

ACTING AGAINST THE ODDS

You must have a good reason to act against the odds. To spend two dollars on a piece of paper that only has a ‘one in a ten million chance’ of having any value the next day, makes no sense unless the payout in the ‘one in a ten million chance’ is very significant.

On Chanukah many of us have a practice of playing games of chance. In general gambling is not a recommended way of spending our time (and money). Yet this Chanukah tradition is part of our heritage, to teach our children an important lesson; the value of the payout dictates the amount you are willing to wager. When the payout is great-you are willing to play against the odds.

For a great Torah leader, nothing is more important than the spiritual welfare of the people of Israel. Matityahu and his sons were cognizant of the challenge as they planned the rebellion against Antiochus. They knew very well that a few warriors have a small chance in overcoming the powerful Seleucid Empire. Yet, for the Chashmonaim, religious freedom is a payout that is worth the gamble.

So next time you spin the dreidel, think of the Chanukah heroes who have inspired the People of Israel for many generations, to do whatever is necessary to keep the light of Judaism alive.

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Chanukah