Photo Credit: Jewish Press

The yom tovim come early this year. Rosh Hashanah is just a month away. The Jewish New Year is traditionally observed as a time of both introspection and anticipation. It is the quintessential opportunity for reflection on what has been, and the perfect time to think about what will be.

Life, of course, has its ups and downs. Review of the past year is always a daunting task. We delight in our blessings. We reel from our losses. Sometimes we soar with joy. Sometimes we stagger under a heavy burden.

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The secret of life is to keep optimistic. We never know what’s waiting right around the corner. We need to believe that positive change is possible and good times are coming.

The perfect example of the realization of this idea occurred this summer in Zephyrhills, Florida, to a highly unlikely recipient. Gloria MacKenzie is an 84 year-old widow. She was renting a dumpy one-bedroom duplex with a tin roof. Her surroundings and finances were bare.

Mrs. MacKenzie went to buy a lottery ticket at the local supermarket. Another player let her cut ahead in the line. Mrs. MacKenzie bought a quick-pick ticket – a computer randomly chose her numbers.

Gloria MacKenzie is now a multimillionaire, the winner of a $278 million prize. She was in the right place at the right time. She had hope. She bought a ticket. She won.

We are told one’s mazel can change in the blink of an eye. Jewish tradition has some very good techniques for turning things around, especially at this special time. Teshuvah, tefillah and tzedakah (repentance, prayer and charity) are the winning ticket for a good and sweet new year.

Get in line.

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