Several weeks ago in the Israeli Lotto lottery, the winning
prize of NIS 20 million was divided between the four
purchasers of the winning forms, each of which was worth NIS
5 million. A resident of the center of the country won two
first prizes, and received NIS 10 million. When he reached
the headquarters of the Mifal Hapayis to receive his prize,
he noticed the surprise of the directors of the lottery
department, who didn't recall a case in which one person had
won two first prizes in the very same lottery.
Before the lottery, the man had dreamt that four particular
numbers would be the winning ones. The dream repeated itself.
Because he had dreamt the same dream twice, he decided to
invest the money to fill enough lottery forms to enable him
to cover all of the six winning numbers which included the
four digits from the dream.
He began to fill lottery forms called "form 5-6," in which
one must guess only five numbers, with the sixth number given
"free" by the Mifal Hapayis. This form is more expensive than
a regular form, and costs NIS 96. The man and his wife filled
out 45 forms, on which they marked down the numbers which
appeared in the dream. On each form they filled in an
additional number, out of the 49 possible numbers of the
lottery. This cost them NIS 4,320.
In the end, the four numbers which appeared in his dream were
among the winning ones. From the 45 forms, he won two first
prizes, as well as a second prize and several smaller ones.
All in all, he won ten-and-a-half million shekel.
Of course, this story doesn't constitute a recommendation to
rely on dreams, nor in lotteries or in other issues. Chazal
said that there is no dream without vain elements, because
"dreams speak vanities."
However, this story reminds us of an interesting one
involving R' Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, cited in his biography,
Guardian of Jerusalem (Ho'ish al Hachoma) written by
his great grandson, Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Sonnenfeld.
The event took place when R' Chaim was a young yeshiva
student in the Pressburg yeshiva. On night, the three winning
numbers of the weekly government lottery appeared to him in a
dream. When he awoke in the morning, he clearly recalled the
three numbers, and weighed whether or not to purchase the
tickets. Although he had enough money to buy a lottery form,
he felt that since all dreams have vain elements, the entire
dream was dubious. Moreover, if he purchased the ticket he
would have to forgo a number of meals for which that money
was earmarked, something which would cause bitul
Torah. This was a case of a doubtful win vs. certain
bitul Torah. After considering the matter briefly, he
decided not to buy the ticket. He then forgot the entire
affair, and returned to his studies.
R' Chaim continued to relate: "I was curious to know what
happened with my dream. I went to the ticket dealer's stand
in order to check the winning numbers, and was amazed to see
that all three of the numbers which I had seen in my dream
Later on, whenever he related this story to his family and
close acquaintances, he would conclude with a broad smile:
"You probably think that I was sorry about what had happened.
But the truth is that I didn't give the matter a moment's
thought, and it didn't cause me to waste any Torah study
time. I forgot about the entire event."
While the conversation was focusing on lotteries and lots, R'
Chaim related a story about HaRav Mordechai Banet, the av
beis din of Nicholsberg. One time, a certain Jew did him
a big favor, and HaRav Banet asked the Jew what he wanted in
return. The Jew thought for a moment. Being a simple person,
he asked R' Mordechai Banet to reveal the number of the
ticket which would win the main prize in the forthcoming
lottery. R' Banet smiled over the mundane notions of the Jew,
fulfilled his promise and revealed the number.
The Jew marked down the number, and went from stand to stand
in search of it. But the ticket with that number was very
costly, because it was an expensive type. He searched and
didn't find it. Finally, he came across a ticket agent who
told him that the ticket with that number had already been
sold. He added: "The names and addresses of the buyers appear
on the stubs of these particular types of tickets, so that I
know who the buyer is. If he agrees, you could buy it back
from him at a higher price."
The Jew, who wasn't wealthy, wasn't sure whether it was
worthwhile to invest so much money in the ticket. He was
At last, he had a brainstorm. Before buying the ticket, he
would make a test lottery, and see if Rav Banet was right.
Satisfied with his idea, he quickly went ahead with the test.
Taking a few of sheets of paper, he marked down all of the
numbers which appeared on the tickets of this series, which
due to its high price hadn't been distributed in large
amounts. After spending many hours recording the numbers, he
cut the sheets of paper into thin strips, each of which
contained the various numbers included in the lottery, and
proceeded with the test. How surprised that simple Jew was
when he discovered that the number that Rav Banet had
revealed to him was indeed the winning one in his test
Confident, the Jew rushed to the ticket agent and handed him
the necessary amount for the ticket he sought. The Jew
counted the days, the hours and the moments until the
lottery. Impatiently, he looked forward to the day on which
he would receive the grand prize. On the slated day, he went
to the auditorium of the city council, where the public
lottery was held before a large audience. How shocked and
disappointed he was when his number wasn't announced, and
when someone else won the grand prize.
Filled with sorrow and grief, he returned to R' Mordechai
Banet and poured out his bitter heart to him. "Perhaps you
scribbled something in the meantime?" R' Mordechai Banet
"Yes," he said with a broken heart, and told R' Mordechai
Banet about the "trial lottery." Then and there, R' Mordechai
told him, "I told you that this number would win in the
lottery, and indeed it did: You wasted my brocho on
the test lottery!"