Rabbi's Message: Volume 25, No. 8: Mar. 2008 - Adar 2 5768


Volume 25, No. 8: Mar. 2008 - Adar 2 5768

Subject: Rabbi's Message: Mar. 2008 - Adar 2 5768: Gambling with the Future

I used to be a "gambler" in High School. We never played for much, but my dining room table was the site of many a poker game. One night, I was losing and losing bad. After running up my loss tab to almost $5 (adjusted for inflation, probably $50 today), I said to my opponent, "You're not that much better at this game than I am. How are you beating me so badly?" He said, "If you promise to pay what you owe me, I'll tell you."

I promised to pay and he went on to describe an elaborate cheating scheme that he concocted. (By the way: I reneged and never paid him.) That evening gave me the best lesson I've ever received on why I shouldn't gamble. My suspicion is, that whether casino gambling, horse racing, etc., that when money is involved, there is someone out there willing to cheat to get it.

As we come up toward Purim, history has shown us that we can't gamble on the good will of others for our survival or for the survival of Israel. There were Hamans and Hitlers in our past. Unfortunately, there will be other unnamed evil people who will be in our future.

Our forefathers, from Asher Levy who established the right for Jews to stand on guard duty in the late 17th century pre-USA; to Chayim Solomon, financer of the Revolutionary War; to Supreme Court Justices, Brandeis, Frankfurter, Goldberg, just to mention a few; and onward and onward they have stood us in good stead in America today.

Officially, at Purim, we are told to blot out the name of Haman with our greggers. The fact is, when talking about Purim, my students are apt to remember Haman more than any other character. Perhaps the message of Purim is that we can always appreciate the good, but if we don't remember and aren't vigilant to the Hamans of our past, we are in danger in the future.

We're in a good place in America and America has been a good friend to Israel. Let's remain proactive by being good Jews and good Americans and just not to take for granted that it will always be that way!

Happy Purim,

Joshua L. Segal

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