I take the ticket out of my wallet and scan it. Beep beep, the device is making the typical noise and then it shows a message on the display screen.
“Sorry, you are not a winner”.
I crumble the ticket and throw it in the nearest trash can.
I don’t play the lottery often. But every time I do, I end up chiding myself for it. Why did I just waste 2 dollars? Did I really believe I am going to win? And what are the chances anyways – slim to none!
There is something appealing about the idea of free money.
Actually, free anything.
Free. Give it to me. I don’t need to work for it, no efforts required. Free!
Every time after again not winning the lottery, I am reminding myself that G-d set the world in such a way that nothing is really free. Anything good requires efforts.
Why? Wouldn’t it be nice to be fit without needing to exercise? Have money without going to work? Getting groceries without paying?
One beautiful explanation is that our Creator knows us even better than we know ourselves. And He knows that when we work for something and put effort to earn it, we feel good. We are proud of our accomplishments. When we receive something for free, ultimately we will feel undignified.
In the next week, millions of Jews around the globe will be celebrating Sukkot. They will be eating outdoors, exposed to the elements and perhaps even enduring a rain storm or two.
If you open the Torah, you will find the reason why we eat in the Sukkah:
“For a seven day period you shall live in booths. Every resident among the Israelites shall live in booths, in order that your [ensuing] generations should know that I had the children of Israel live in booths when I took them out of the land of Egypt”.
Okay, so we sit in the Sukkah to celebrate the exodus from Egypt. But wait, why don’t we celebrate Sukkot in the spring? Imagine sitting at the Seder table outside, enjoying the spring breeze and sipping four cups of wine!
Well, that’s exactly the point.
In the spring it’s fun to be outside.
In the autumn, not so fun anymore.
It requires efforts. It might a bit challenging. It might get rainy. It doesn’t come that easy.
Yet, when we celebrate it – with the efforts and the challenges included – we are truly celebrating it. We are doing a Mitzvah. We earned it.
Next time you are doing something good and you are encountering an obstacle, don’t get upset. Embrace it; Remember that this is part of the deal.
Because a Mitzvah is the holiest act we can do. G-d appreciates it tremendously, and He wants us to appreciate it, too.
Wishing you a happy Sukkot!