The Medrash in this week’s parsha tells us that Yosef had a great amount of bitachon in Hashem. However this same Medrash says there was something improper with Yosef’s request to the chief bartender to “mention me to Pharaoh” in order to extricate himself from jail. This Medrash seems to contradict itself: Was Yosef a “baal bitachon” or not?
It is said in the name of the Chofetz Chaim that it is worthwhile for a person to buy a lottery ticket, for the person imagining his winnings helps him develop the middah of bitachon.
A story is told of a Rebbe who told his chasid, “Buy a lottery ticket in this special drawing for $1 million. You will definitely win the lottery, thereby ending your financial hardship.” This first chasid listened to his Rebbe and took out $5000 from his bank account to buy this special lottery ticket. A second chasid overheard this conversation and bought the ticket off the first chasid for $900,000, as the second chasid believed the words of the Rebbe. As can be expected, it was not the winning ticket. The first chasid went back to the Rebbe and asked “How come the ticket didn’t win?? You said if I believe you and buy the ticket it would be a sure winner!” The Rebbe asked “How much did you sell the ticket for?” and he answered “$900,000.” The Rebbe said “You obviously didn’t believe you would win, for if you believed that you were going to win $1 million, you would not take a loss of $100,000!”
As this lottery ticket was very expensive – $5000 a ticket – a man who has financial difficulties would not invest the money unless he believed he would win. Therefore, why indeed did the first chasid sell his lottery ticket for $900,000? The answer is that there is “believing” and there is “believing”.
The Daas Sharaga explains that we say in shemoneh esrei:
וְתֵן שכָר טוב לְכָל הַבּוטְחִים בְּשִׁמְךָ בֶּאֱמֶת. וְשים חֶלְקֵנוּ עִמָּהֶם…
And give a good reward to all who believe in your Name in truth, put our lot with them…
The question is two-fold. What does it mean “who believe…in truth”? Either you are a believer or not. Question two: If we are not “believers”, then how can we ask Hashem to give us our portion with those who are true believers? He answers with the principle of the Chofetz Chaim: There are two types of people who may do an action of belief: The first person believes with complete truth, and the other only believes it “$900,000 worth”. Yet, when the first chasid bought the lottery ticket, trying to improve on his belief, he still had a right to ask Hashem to give him his reward with those who truly believe, because that is where he wants to be.
As Chanukah is winding down, and we think about those heroes who did what they really believed in, we should pray to Hashem that our lighting of these candles should instill in us the power to fight in our own lives for the things which we believe in, B’emes.