Schools (or camps) sometimes make raffles for their students. If you "Daven well", you get a ticket to a raffle taking place in the afternoon.

Sometimes, for good reasons or not, the school decides that it wants a certain student to win (he's "trying hard", etc.) They arrange that his ticket number is on the top (or will lie what that number that got picked out was), and will "randomly" pick it out.

However they arrange it, is it permitted (let's say the kids don't realize. They're too little, so there's no "chinuch issues"). On one hand, the school owns the prizes and can give them out to whomever they want. On the other hand, they made a "contract" with the kids, so perhaps it's too late to back out then.

What's the halacha?

  • 2
    How is running a fraudulent raffle not g'neivas da'as?
    – Fred
    Jul 9, 2015 at 2:49
  • 1
    I frankly can't imagine that it is permitted (not that that means much). Why not just come up with another excuse to reward the child? Jul 9, 2015 at 2:51
  • 3
    מדבר שקר תרחק . Jul 9, 2015 at 3:55
  • OTOH raffles may be similar to gambling. Gambling is [rabbinically] forbidden since [deep down] one doesn't really intend to hand over the money. אסמכתא issues. So at some level the "contract" with the kids is "invalid", for the same reason; they know that their chances of winning are slim. (Needs more research, just an idea I had why it may be permitted.) Jul 9, 2015 at 5:30
  • 1
    Then again, see torah.org.il/advanced/business-halacha/5757/vol3no2.html that there are clear halachot about how raffles are binding. Jul 9, 2015 at 7:00

1 Answer 1


I was running a raffle (in which the participants did not pay to participate) and wanted to know if I could fix it for a certain person or category of people to not win. R' Tzvi Berkowitz told me that I could not. A Dayan from Lakewood told me that when I give out a ticket, I am giving away a zechus towards the possibility of getting the prize, and it is not within my ability or authority to unilaterally revoke that zechus from the recipient of the ticket.

  • 1
    What if you have intention when you gave the ticket to Mr. X not to be mezakkeh them?
    – Double AA
    Jul 9, 2015 at 19:53
  • @DoubleAA Did you tell him that when you gave him the ticket? Jul 9, 2015 at 19:54
  • The idea would be not to. I'm just trying to understand if (accd to this) there is a legal way to fix the raffle if you plan it out right.
    – Double AA
    Jul 9, 2015 at 19:54
  • @DoubleAA So then that would sound like devarim she'balev to me. Jul 9, 2015 at 19:55
  • @DoubleAA In that case, I would think it's g'neivas da'as rather than g'neivas mammon.
    – Fred
    Jul 9, 2015 at 20:55

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