Do Our Dreams Mean Anything?
People in all cultures and across the span of history have been fascinated by dreams. They’ve been considered a form of supernatural communication; a means of Divine intervention; predictions of the future; metaphoric messages communicating something of the latent psyche of the dreamer and more.
What is the Torah perspective on dreams?
Behold a Dreamer Comes
There are 10 dreams and 7 dreamers in the Book of Genesis:
- After he abducts Sarah, G-d appears to Avimelech in a dream and warns him he will die unless he returns her to her husband Abraham (Torah portion of Vayeira)
- In flight from Esau, Jacob arrives at the Temple Mount and dreams of a ladder connecting heaven and earth, with angels climbing and descending. (Vayeitzei)
- Jacob accumulates great wealth while working for his father-in-law Lavan and realizes that his attitude towards him has changed. At that point, G-d appears to Jacob telling him to return to the land of his fathers and his family. (Vayeitzei)
- When Lavan pursues Jacob after the latter decides to return to the Holy Land, G-d appears to him in a dream and warns him not to harm Jacob (Vayeitzei)
- Joseph dreams of the prostration of his brothers’ sheaves and then of the prostration of the sun, moon and eleven stars (Vayeishev)
- The butler and baker each dream their own dream and the interpretation of the other in prison (Vayeishev)
- Pharaoh dreams of seven fat cows that are eaten by seven lean ones. He then dreams of seven full ears of corn being devoured by seven lean ones. (Mikeitz)
How do we discover their meaning?
There is a progression in the dreams from “content” which is clearly understandable and “content” which is multi-layered and metaphoric. The dreams build upon each other, helping us understanding the various causes (the “what”) of dreams and how we can interpret them.
Joseph stands at the interface between the dreams that are easily accessible and those which are opaque.
Each week on our Group Coaching call, I begin with a thought from the Torah portion that participants can use in their daily lives for the week ahead. This week’s portion tells of Pharaoh’s dreams and Joseph’s fascinating analysis of their meaning. An analysis so astute that it catapulted him from prisoner to Viceroy and “Chairman of the Federal Reserve.” A perfect place to begin a discussion about dreams.
His analysis of Pharaoh’s dreams also offer clues for us as to how to manage our internal voices and the contradictions we struggle with.
You can listen to that segment of the recording by clicking the link below. I hope you’ll enjoy this Torah-based resource to help you access your dreams.
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