Friday, April 20, 2012


Announcement: We have begun adding suggested Bar and Bat Mitzvah gifts to our portal,

In memory of ______ (fill in the blank). My late father's birthday would have been this week. Many Jews worldwide are remembering loved ones, some of them heroes, some of them "regular folk", all of them beloved.

The news media believe that everyone wants to know who won the Megamillions jackpot. Maybe they're right? Is the winner a hero?

First question for your table: If someone offered you $656 million, would you take it?

Heroism is certainly not certain. This week marks the fifth anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings. Do you remember Prof. Librescu? Even if you do, you may find this short article worth your time:

From what we read of Prof. Librescu’s life, he was a kind soul, a loving husband and father, an enthusiastic teacher – a mensch, in fact. He put other people’s needs before his own – he had rachmanus. Was his a just fate?

Let’s look at another 2007 news item about fate, fortune and values:

2002 Powerball winner Jack Whittaker wishes he had never won.
The irony of his regret is that he did not use the jackpot to indulge himself. He only wanted to give to others. But the fortune and fame destroyed his family.

“I wish I'd torn that ticket up,” he told ABC News.

You can read why here (warning – it’s not a pleasant story).

Indeed, in reaction to the newest overnight millionnaires, the Chicago Tribune warns them about the "lottery curse".
"Nine out of 10 big prize winners lost their windfall within five years" (full story here).

Question #2 for your table: If someone offered you $656 million (before taxes) - no strings attached - would you take it?

What if, in order to get the money, you had to do one single act of embarrassing another person in public?

OK, let’s keep the no-strings attached. I assume the answer would be yes...

But before we give you the money, we’d like you to make one final choice:

You may keep the $315 million or.... it for a once-in-your-lifetime chance to save one person’s life (if you pass this up, you’ll never have another similar opportunity)?

True wealth is greatness of character - a poor mensch is far wealthier than a rich SOB.

May those who are mourning be comforted, and may you and I receive all the resources we need to achieve our greatest dreams.

Shabbat Shalom.

— a decent person

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