18 Tishrei 5782 / Friday, September 24, 2021 | Torah Reading: Sukkot
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The Gambler    

The Gambler

One hundred people hear that Joe Shmoe made a fortune overnight playing the dice. The Yetzer suckers them into believing that they too can become “big rollers”…


The Garden of Riches, Part 22

Light gambling
Even light gambling is risky. Not only can it cause of tremendous losses, but it can lead to heavy gambling and total addiction. Addiction to gambling is harder to break than other addiction. Even by buying lottery tickets, a person could get addicted.
The habit of gambling shows a fundamental deficiency in emuna. Many people buy lottery tickets regularly. They think that guessing the right numbers merits the winning ticket. Instead of praying to Hashem, they look to the numbers for salvation, G-d forbid. Only Hashem determines who will be poor and who will be rich –there is none beside Him!
Some that buy many lottery tickets or “play the numbers” imagine that the more tickets they purchase, the bigger their chance of winning. This is a grave mistake and weakness of emuna. Gamblers are convinced gambling is a matter of chance, odds, and probability; everything depends on the lottery machine and the winning numbers. They forgot that, “Hashem makes a person poor or rich, He lowers a person or elevates him”. Hashem decides who will win every lottery drawing which ticket or numbers will be picked in the drawing. A destined winner therefore needs to buy one ticket only – he will still win.
Hashem alone oversees His creations with a magnificent precision individual Divine providence and determines each one’s livelihood from one Rosh Hashanah until the next Rosh Hashanah.
Jewish law regards dice games, roulette, card games and various luck machines as stealing, and whoever plays those games is no longer considered a trustworthy witness in a religious court of law.
Hashem has many messengers and infinite paths to give people their livelihood, with or without a lottery ticket.
Rather than being a partner in the destruction of the world through steady gambling, supporting gambling institutions and losing his money in all types of gambling, one would be much better off being a partner in the building of the world through supporting Torah institutions, emuna outreach, and the knowledge of Hashem in the world. He who has mercy on the creation will merit mercy from Heaven.
Addiction to gambling is harder to break than other addiction…
Heavy gambling
The lust to gamble comes from the lust for money. It causes a person to deviate from Hashem’s commandments him and uproots a person’s emuna in Hashem, truth and Divine Providence.
Gambling seems like an easy path to big money, but it’s really a rocky road that leads the person – and all his relatives – to an unbearably hard and bitter life.
Gambling disorients a person, because the evil inclination always makes sure that some people will earn large sums through gambling. One’s imagination and envy skyrockets when he hears about of someone else’s windfall on the poker table or at the roulette wheel. The evil inclination suckers him into believing that he too can become a “big roller” who earns colossal sums. He loses his good sense and in a short time wastes a tremendous amount of money that he worked very hard for, whereas he could have used the money in a positive way.
The gambler causes untold grief to all of his relatives, and in particular to his wife and children. Their hearts bleed when they see the money that wasted on gambling instead of used on what they really need it.
According to Jewish Law, money that a person earns from gambling is considered thievery; there’s consequently no blessing in such money. Everyone will realize that the money comes from an unclean source and won’t be enjoyed - it only causes suffering.
Always a loser
A person’s annual earnings – and losses - are predetermined from Rosh Hashanah. Suppose, for example, that it was predetermined for him to earn $150,000 that year. It was also predetermined for him to loss $30,000 the same year.
As for the amount that was he’s destined to earn – even if he will do as much effort as possible, gambling with good judgment and shrewd calculations - he won’t be able to earn more.
But – regarding the amount that was destined to lose – he could choose to lose more that was predetermined, even all his money and possessions, falling tragically into deep debt.
A gambler will lose either way – if he’ll lose while gambling, he could lose everything that he owns and succumb to debt. But even if he wins money while gambling, he won’t get more than was predetermined for him to earn. It is possible that he will earn at one time the entire sum that was predetermined for him to earn that year, and spend the money before the year is over. What’s more, the money earned by gambling is devoid of blessings, and he will not be able to enjoy it, so either way he ends up a loser either way. Who then could benefit from gambling? Could then a person change what was determined in Heaven? Better to wait patiently and receive what one’s allotment in an honest and upright manner with dignity.
A gambler’s cruelty
One is not lord over his money. His money is merely a Heavenly deposit that one should use in accordance with Hashem’s will. Most of the money given to a husband and father is intended for the benefit of his family. Without a wife and children, he wouldn’t have received the money. What therefore gives him the right to gamble the money that Hashem gave him to support his family? By gambling, he is stealing the abundance that belongs to his family, abundance that Hashem gave him to use wisely for their welfare and not to waste on folly and fantasies.
No one is as cruel to their family as a gambler. Whether he wins or loses, he harms his family. When he loses, he’s guilty for the anguish that he causes them. In turn, he’ll suffer from the harsh judgments and tribulations that the gambling invokes. And, even if he wins, there won’t be any blessing in this money. He won’t make more than he was destined to, but now he has money from a badly tainted source. Such cursed funds only lead to sorrow.
Enjoying other people’s suffering
There is a tremendous moral flaw with gambling. In most kinds of gambling, one gains by another person’s loss. How could a person with emuna be willing to benefit from money that comes from someone else’s suffering? How could anyone enjoy money that is tainted with blood?
People that run gambling establishments resemble murderers, since they’re fully aware that the astronomical profits they make come from the immense pain of those that succumb to gambling. They “assist” the victims by extending them credit so that they can lose more after they’ve already run out of cash. The gambling institutions help the gambling addict lose his car, home, and business – the very lifelines of the gambler’s family, may G-d have mercy.
In short, gambling and emuna don’t mix - a believing person should have no connection whatsoever with gambling.
If a person has an urge to gamble, he should ask Hashem to help him get rid of the lust for money, for gambling is rooted in one’s excessive love of money. Also, one should pray for emuna, because the desire for money and gambling is resulting from heresy, the opposite of emuna, when one denies that all his income is predetermined from Hashem, and even worse, when he believes that it is possible to get rich by gambling, without Hashem’s providence, G-d forbid. One who fools himself into thinking that Hashem wants him to make money through gambling should know that Hashem has many better and much more upright means to provide him with the money that he needs.
To be continued.

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