Goral / Lottery Part 2


By Rabbi Berach Steinfeld

Last week we discussed the premise that a goral works with divine assistance, the Chavos Yair brings down three cases of goral with interesting shailos in connection to it. 

The Chavos Yair in Siman Samech Alef quoted in the Pischei Teshuva, Siman Kuf Ayin Heh, Seif Gimmel brings a case where there were twelve people together on Purim who were drunk.

These people were going to raffle off a gold goblet. Each person contributed a specified amount of money to the pot in order to obtain a chance at winning the goblet. They each had their name written on a paper that was placed into a box. In another box there were eleven blank papers and one paper that said, Mazel Tov!” The person to choose the “Mazel Tov!” paper would be the winner of the gold goblet. A child was asked to pick out one name at a time with a paper from the second box. On the second try the name picked matched up with the “Mazel Tov!” paper from the second box.

A skeptic went and checked the rest of the tickets in the second box and discovered that instead of the box containing eleven empty papers and one “Mazel Tov!” there actually were two tickets with the words “Mazel Tov!” on it. The Chavos Yair paskened that the lottery is null and void since the first name to be picked has double the chances to win. The problem with this reasoning is based upon the Taz’s premise we mentioned last week. The Taz states that anything that is kavua has a 50/50 chance; so it would stand to reason that there was a 50/50 chance for the first person to win. Why would it then be null and void? We could answer that in the terms of the lottery the winning ticket was only supposed to be written once; and since “Mazel Tov!” was written twice, the whole goral is considered invalid.

The Chavos Yair continues that based on his psak the lottery was done again and this time the sixth person’s name was matched to the “Mazel Tov!” ticket. Someone else opened up all the other tickets and found that there were only eleven names in the box. One of the names had been omitted. The participants who had not won wanted to invalidate the goral; however, the winner claimed that they should leave it as is. To the other people whose names had been in the goral he addressed by saying that their chances had been greater to win, but they had actually not won. To the person whose name had been omitted he offered a sum of money as a consolation prize.

The Chavos Yair said that the goral is in fact invalid and the whole lottery needs to be re-done. We find a case in Bava Basra, daf kuf vov, amud bais that discusses two brothers who divided an inheritance. A long lost brother from a far away land showed up after the division had been done. When a Rav was consulted he paskened that they were required to re-divide the inheritance among the three brothers. From this story we see that since the statistics change, the proceedings need to be re-done.

The Chavos Yair says that even in a case where one of the twelve people cheated and added a second ticket with his name on it and and yet did not end up winning, the whole goral is invalidated. The bottom line is that a goral works with divine assistance and it will only work if it is done khalacha.

We can see what is meant in the posuk  Ashreinu mah tov  chelkeinu … naim…  GORALAINU.”  Praised are we with our portion; when our goral is done in a sweet way. If the goral is done correctly, Hashem helps us with our portion!

Do you have a topic or discussion you want to read about? Please send comments or questions to hymanbsdhevens@gmail.com or Berachsteinfeldscorner@gmail.com


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