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The Winning Ticket

Miriam Gross and Bracha Yaari

What’s it like to walk away from a raffle with $100,000 to your name? Or a luxury car? Or a brand-new kitchen? Lucky lottery and Chinese auction winners — and the people responsible for delivering the good tidings — share their incredible stories.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

One afternoon, on a whim, Rabbi Mordechai Levinson decided to buy a ticket for a Split-the-Pot raffle. “I remember what I had for lunch that day,” relays the chassidish avreich from Jerusalem, a sofer by trade. “My wife made chicken and rice. There was a tattered colorful booklet from Ezer Mizion on the table next to me. It had been kicking around the house for a whole month without my even leafing through it once. Now I flipped through it absentmindedly. “The page with children’s toys was half-torn, thanks to my five-year-old grandson. I continued on, and suddenly, by Hashgachah pratis, I saw the words ‘Split the Pot’ with an illustration of greenbacks in a quantity you only find in banks. “I’d recently married off my third daughter and the debts entangling us, as well as the running around to gemachim day and night, were what pushed me to dial the number that appeared on the bottom of the page, give them my credit card number, part with 40 shekel, and hope for the best,” remembers Rabbi Levinson, who has seven children still living at home. After making the donation,RabbiLevinson completely forgot about the raffle. “It was all so spontaneous and unplanned that I hadn’t even gotten around to telling my wife about it. I went to take a nap, and from there to my workroom — I work primarily at night. At 10 p.m., I went to a wedding in a nearby hall to wish mazel tov to a neighbor who was marrying off his child. I was walking down the steps of the hall when my cell phone rang. All I heard was noise and the excited voices of people screaming in my ear, ‘Levinson, you won, you won!’ “I thought it was a prank call, so I hung up,”RabbiLevinson remembers. 

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