Ask the Rabbi
Will Shulman had the following comments regarding last week's issue on The Lottery:
My Rav in Maryland told a story about the Chafetz Chaim zt''l. "A man once asked the Chafetz Chaim for a bracha on a lottery ticket; the Chafetz Chaim refused. 'But you give brachot when people gamble on stocks, why not when they gamble on lotteries?' the man asked. The Chafetz Chaim answered that he gave brachot on stock certificates because if the stock went up, no one would lose money. But if he were to give a bracha for a lottery ticket, he would also be giving a klala (curse) to everyone else!"
My Rav ended by saying that while the lottery is not against Halacha, the Gedolim of Israel do not play it.