In all likelihood, it’s been close to half a century since I’ve last watched any game show on television. Quite frankly, I don’t recall ever having watched “Let’s make a Deal.” Nevertheless, “Let’s Make a Deal” has been on my mind ever since I learned of the passing of Monty Hall, the host of that show, on Yom Kippur. Although we never met, Monty Hall (Monte Halperin) was a “landsman” of mine, in that he also hails from the very same G-d-forsaken city of Winnipeg, Canada. Chances are, however, that Monte Hall remembers “the ‘peg’” in a much more positive way than yours truly.
Although “Let’s Make a Deal” premiered in 1963, the term, or at very least the concept, has been around as long as society has been in existence. Whenever you have one or both persons wanting something from the other, tangible or other-wise, chances are good to excellent that one or both will be amenable – to various degrees, of course – to making a deal with the other. The very first “let’s make a deal” took place in the Garden of Eden, when HaShem provided free board and room to Adam and Eve, in exchange for “working and guarding” the said garden and not eating from the Tree of Knowledge. It goes without saying that it was a short-lived deal. Later, when society came into being, the proposal of “let’s make a deal” typically involved (at the very least) two humans.
With the “whites” of the High Holy Days still vivid in our memories, I hope that those who attended services at Tiferet will recall that the best deal one can make is with oneself. What makes our daily lives all the more worthwhile are those deals we make with ourselves. Typically, those deals are in terms of reward and punishment. It should not be at all unusual for one to propose the following: “If I can get this project finished within this specific period of time, then I will reward myself with the following…” Conversely, one should similarly raise the following red flag: “If I fail to complete this project within this specific period of time, then I will forfeit the following…” Can you imagine how more productive each one of us would be if we were to make such deals with ourselves? Can you imagine what a paradise society would be if all would adhere to such deal-making in their daily lives?
Unless we are agnostics or atheists, the vast majority of us make deals with G-d, especially in times of adversity. Often, in moments of desperation, we humans are wont to strike deals with HaShem where we negotiate the terms. Why, Judaism itself is rife with such deal making! Abraham did just that upon learning of the imminent destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Mere days ago, as we gathered in the synagogue for Yom Kippur, a good many did everything within the framework of prayer to attempt to convince HaShem (in other words, they made deals) to seal their names in the heavenly Book of Life, working under the assumption that their names were inscribed on Rosh Hashanah.
Early in his life, Monte Hall benefited from a deal that fellow Winnipegger Max Freed made with him. Much more recently, it appears that Monte Hall benefited from a deal that even he may have been unaware of. HaShem saw fit to grant Monte Hall length of days – 96 years!