Is a person allowed to pray for something that is statistically very unlikely to occur, such as winning the lottery?

  • 1
    Or the resurrection of the dead Jun 9, 2015 at 13:57
  • @ClintEastwood, that is very different. We know it will happen. We are only asking that it happens soon. In fact we aren't supposed to pray for a particular Niftar to become alive. We aren't supposed to pray for miracles.
    – HaLeiVi
    Jun 9, 2015 at 14:17
  • @HaLeiVi the sages sometimes prayed to resurrect certain people.
    – ray
    Jun 9, 2015 at 17:41

1 Answer 1



We learn in Brachot 10a - from King Chizkiyahu - that even if the executioner's sharp sword is already at your neck, you should pray for mercy.

אפילו חרב חדה מונחת על צווארו של אדם אל ימנע עצמו מן הרחמים

What are the chances of surviving an execution when you can already feel the cold metal on your neck? Yet we are taught that even then we should pray.

That said, it's usually more efficient to pray for riches rather than to tell Gcd how to make you rich!

  • But it's even more efficient do pray for specific needs than to pray for riches. The latter is לאו בזכותא תליא אלא במזלא תליא. While you should surely keep on praying for it, it shouldn't replace the prayers for specific needs. My own experience has shown this to be true.
    – HaLeiVi
    Jun 9, 2015 at 14:15
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    Q the quote seems to be restricted to situations of danger, that a person should pray for mercy. How do we know this is extensible to anything whatsoever? Re riches, I would think this contradicts the concept that a person's money amount is predetermined on Rosh Hashanna.
    – DanF
    Jun 9, 2015 at 14:29
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    Sorry for downvoting, but we don't pasken out of the Gemara and this is actually a discussion in the poskim. Most of them say it is not allowed and interpret this Gemara differently Jun 9, 2015 at 16:45

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