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August 5, 2015 / 20 Av, 5775
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Everybody Is a Winner

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Those who feel death is a way out from their deep despair and hopelessness and their crippling belief that they are pathetic losers, need to know a universal truth: nobody is a loser. No human being who exists, by definition can be a loser. In fact, each living person is a one-in-a-million winner in the lottery of life.

If you look at a geological chart, you will see that each person has 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great-grandparents, 16 great-great-grandparents, 32 great-great-great-grandparents, 64 great-great-great-great-grandparents, etc. Going back many generations you realize that there are hundreds upon hundreds of individuals over several centuries who are responsible for your existence.

Imagine if any one of those hundreds of men or women had not survived to adulthood, or if they had never met or if they married someone else, you as “you” are would not exist. So many thousands of incidents had to take place in order for the particular, unique you to “be.”

What if your great-great-grandmother had died from the flu she caught as a five year old? Many children did not survive their illnesses. What if your great-grandfather’s family had remained in Russia, instead of making the arduous journey to America 150 years ago? What if one of your ancestors had been delayed coming home for several days due to a storm. Or if something as common and simple as an argument resulted in a separation for a day or two?

Any one change in the millions of details that make up the lives of a person’s many ancestors would have likely resulted in that person’s non-existence. At the very least, you would be a different you.

Obviously you were meant to be the “you” who you are – it was Hashem’s will. How else do you explain why so many hundreds of lives intertwined over hundreds of years “to be in the right place at the right time” and ultimately create “you”?

When you look in the mirror, you should not see a loser or a failure. By virtue of your existence, you are a winner. Your “number” was meant to be – you were divinely designed to be exactly how you are.

You are not a mistake. Every aspect of who and what you are is part of Hashem’s plan for tikun olam. Life without challenge results in stagnation. Life without struggle, with no need to strive and grow is meaningless. There is no sense of achievement, no satisfaction. It is better to have goals, no matter how elusive or daunting.

Famous writers, successful businessmen, scientists, artists, politicians, etc. all experienced frustrating disappointments, setbacks and failures – time after time, before finally succeeding . Many no doubt saw a loser in the mirror and wanted to quit, to give up, and admit defeat. But just as there is a pintele yid in every Jew, I believe there is a pintele winner in every human. After all, we are made in G-d’s image. There is something amazing in every one of us.

Listen to your own inner voice, the one that says you are special, a winner, created by the Master of the Universe, He who never makes mistakes – and live your life knowing that you are indeed special.

Life can be, and often will be, painful. But you will be able to pull your finger out of the flame. You are a winner, and one day, with G-d’s help, you will find the simcha that is your birthright.

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