Chalom - dream

The Torah Portion of VaYeiShev Genesis 37:1–40:23,
Insights into “Word Concepts” in Torah: Everything is possible in a dream.

Moshe Kempinski, | updated: 13:37

Moshe Kempinski
Moshe Kempinski
צילום: PR

The children of Leah and of Rachel were gripped in a struggle of rivalry. The emotional turmoil that accompanied the marriage of Leah and the births of the children inevitably impacted the children, children who grew up under the intricate shadow of these events.

Then we read the following;

And Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he was a son of his old age; and he made him a fine woolen coat.     

And his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, so they hated him, and they could not speak with him peacefully.( Genesis 37:3-4)

Then Joseph has a dream. In his young and impulsive way, he shares that dream with his brothers

and Joseph dreamed a dream ( a Chalom) and told his brothers and they increased (VaYosifu) their hatred of him ( ibid:5)

Yet in spite of their reaction , Yosef continues to share a second dream. This additional “sharing” brings about the inevitable result

And he again dreamed (  VaYachlom) another dream, (Chalom) and he related it to his brothers, and he said, 'Behold, I have dreamed another dream, (Chalom), and behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were prostrating themselves to me.' And he told [it] to his father and to his brothers, and his father rebuked him and said to him, 'What is this dream, (Chalom )_that you have dreamed? Will we come I, your mother, and your brothers to prostrate ourselves to you to the ground?'So his brothers envied him, but his father awaited the matter.”(ibid 9-11)

What possessed Yosef to continue to anger his brothers with a description of his dream . After all it was just a dream, Chalom? Furthermore what can be understood by the mysterious words “But his father kept the matter”?

The mystery and power of a dream,(Chalom ) lies in the fact that all things can coexist in a dream. Emotions that contradict each other can permeate a dream where even the impossible coexists with the possible. They seem to come out of the deepest parts of our souls and whisper of hopes and hidden desires. Yet, at the same time, they rage with the passion of the greatest fears along with the most delicate of hopes.

The first exile of the Jews began with dreams. The dreams of Jacob, followed by the dreams of Joseph and Pharaoh all culminated in the long exile of Egypt. Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi , the Baal HaTanya, explains that exile was born out of a succession of dreams because exile is the ultimate dream.

It is in this world of spiritual exile that white is seen as black and black is seen as white. It is a situation in which opposites reign, and seven fat cows in Pharaoh’s dream can be eaten by seven lean cows and the lean remain lean.

Spiritual exile is exile from simple unadulterated truth, just as it is in a dream. It is a dream that is cluttered with unwarranted exaggeration, muddled and confused metaphors, with consistent inconsistency.

Everything is possible in a dream.

Yet, as Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook writes, everything is possible in a dream - both the negative and the positive. A single dream may contain conflicting messages, since it reflects the conflicting qualities within each soul. Such is true of the collective soul of a people as well. When the wine butler tells Pharaoh about the unusual slave he met in prison called Joseph, he says, "Just as he interpreted, so (my dream) came to be." (Genesis 41:13)

This prompted our sages to declare a fact that has been increasingly adopted by modern psychology: "Dreams are fulfilled according to their interpretation." (Berachot 55b)

The interpreter does not refashion the future, rather he reaches into the positive depths of each conflicted dreamer. Look to the dreamers who may be found in all the various political spheres and ideologies. The Dream empowers the dreamer to live up to those qualities.

There are those in this country who will interpret the dream that is our reality with predictions of doom and gloom. There are others, though, who will reach deeper and find the qualities of hope and vision that will lead this people into a safe harbor.

Moving forward in life, then, is about making a choice as to what one must do with the dream that rises up in one’s heart and soul. Many will ignore them. Many will be fearful of them because the unknown remains too overwhelming. Yet there will be those who will seize the hopeful and the sacred underpinning of the dream,(Chalom) and breathe life into it. It will be those dreamers that will make the impossible possible.

"A Song of Ascents: When Hashem brought back those that returned to Zion, we were as dreamers." (Psalms 126:1)

LeRefuat Yehudit bat Golda Yocheved and Yehudit bat Esther


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