Standing in a grocery store, I found myself with an extra dollar in my pocket. I looked around and, on a whim, decided to buy a lottery ticket. Sticking the ticket in my wallet, I didn’t spend much time thinking about my purchase.
A few days later, going through my receipts, I found the lottery ticket. My husband and I excitedly checked the numbers. I held the ticket, and he called out each number. 13? 16? 15? “No…no…no.” Once sitting with anticipation and eagerness, we found ourselves deflated and disappointed. But what were we thinking? The odds were clearly against us. But we found ourselves having fun playing with a bit of risk.
Risk is a tricky topic. I’m a cautious person. Someone who feels safe within cushioned choices. And yet, it’s clear that without risk, one can’t truly reveal the varied layers of the soul. It is a risk trying out for a sports team. It is a risk learning a new hobby or starting a job. It is a risk traveling somewhere different, beginning an unfamiliar adventure. It is a risk exploring a new relationship. Risk invites rejection. Risk ushers in doubt. Risk opens failure. But risk also invites reward. Risk ushers in growth. Risk opens evaluation, revelation and sometimes, liberation.
Risk is what has saved the Jewish people. Whether it was Nachshon stepping into the Sea of Reeds, Shifra and Puah defying Pharaoh’s orders or Judith killing the evil Holofernes, without risk, there is no survival.
The lottery was a silly, quick decision. Not a risk I plan on taking very often. But the act opened a new train of thought. Choosing paths of growth, even arduous and sometimes, uncomfortable may be the exact kind of risk we’re meant to take. And may those kinds of risks be the paths that take us higher and higher, finding holiness where we least expect it.