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Goral / Lottery

In this week’s parsha we find the concept of a “goral” (lottery.) The Torah says that there were 273 Leviim more than Bechorim. In order to transfer the avoda from bechorim to Leviim, there were 273 bechorim who needed to pay five shekalim in order to redeem them. In order to ascertain which 273 Bechorim out of the 22,273 Bechorim who have to pay, a Goral was required. Rashi explains that they put 22,000 papers saying “ben Levi” into a box and 273 papers saying “5 shekalim.” Each bechor chose a paper from the box and followed the instructions on the paper.

The Midrash Rabba in Perek Daled, Siman Yud says that the technique of Rashi is based on the opinion of Reb Yehuda. However, Reb Nechemia argues with this. Reb Nechemia says that if there were only 22,000 papers saying “ben Levi” then after the first 22,000 papers there is a possibility that all “ben Levi” papers would be taken, resulting in the fact that the 273 bechorim having no chance of getting the ticket saying that they are corresponding to a ben Levi. It would seem that the bechorim who choose earlier have a better chance at choosing a paper that says “ben Levi.” Reb Nechemia says that there were 22,273 papers saying “ben Levi” and an additional 273 papers saying “5 shekalim.” The result of the goral was a miracle; 273 papers of 5 shekalim were selected by those destined to choose them.

The Taz questions whether this is still not fair as the percentages of the early bechorim picking a “ben Levi” ticket was that much greater. He answers that since in Halacha we have a klal of “Kol kavua k’mechtza al mechtza” (anything that is in a set place has a 50/50 chance of being chosen), even the last bechorim would still have a 50/50 chance to pull out a “ben Levi” ticket.

Based on the premise that a goral works with divine assistance, the Chavos Yair brings down three cases of goral with interesting shaailos in connection to it. We will iy”H discuss them next week.