Subscribe to a Weekly Series

Posted on November 26, 2021 (5782) By Rabbi Label Lam | Series: | Level:

And Yaakov dwelt in the land of his father’s sojournings, in the land of Canaan. These are the generations of Yaakov: when Yosef was seventeen years old, being a shepherd, he was with his brothers with the flocks, and he was a lad, with the sons of Bilhah and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Yosef brought evil tales about them to their father. And Israel loved Yosef more than all his sons, because he was a son of his old age; and he made him a fine woolen coat—And Yosef dreamed a dream and told his brothers, and they continued to hate him. And he said to them, “Listen now to this dream, which I have dreamed: Behold, we were binding sheaves in the midst of the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright, and behold, your sheaves encircled [it] and prostrated themselves to my sheaf.”(Breishis 37:1-7)

and he was a lad: He behaved childishly, fixing his hair and touching up his eyes so that he would appear handsome. –a son of his old age: Onkelos renders: he was a wise son to him. Whatever he had learned from Shem and Eber he gave over to him-Rashi

Yosef shared this dream and another one too in which he was positioned at the epicenter of their lives. It turned out that these dreams were proven to be 100% prophecy but his brothers had reason to assume otherwise, and according to the Malbim they later judged him to be a false prophet, either delusional or power hungry or both.

Why would they have come to that conclusion? A dream, the Talmud tells us, 1/60 prophecy. What is the significance of that ratio? If an ounce of milk falls accidentally into 60 ounces of meat-soup then it is considered butt’l -negligible because the flavor of the milk is lost in the meat. The proportion of 1/60 is 1 part to 59. The taste can be detected ever so slightly.

So too a regular dream is presumed to have a drop of prophecy but it is lost in an admixture, a salad of psychological phenomenon. What one thinks about in the day becomes the stuff of dreams at night and that includes all the worries, fantasies, conversations, confrontations, exposures, and experiences we had in the course of the day. Good luck sorting out the prophecy from folly.

Rashi explains that he behaved as a NAAR – a lad, and that he was fixing up his hair and making himself more attractive. That self-absorbed appearance was only confirmed by his dreams that placed him in the adoring middle of the family. Little did they know his father gave him a special coat as a special honor for his scholarship as one puts a handsome cover on a Sefer Torah. He was really absorbed with truth all day and that would account for his prophetic visions at night- making his dreams 100% TRUE!

I was a Yeshiva Bochur and I had a vivid dream one morning that a Sefer Torah, held up in front of me, was falling forward and I sat up in horror only to realize that I was late for Davening. So, I ran to the Beis Medrash to join the morning Minyan in progress. It was a Monday morning and so they took out the Sefer Torah to read. After calling up Cohen, Levi, and Yisrael, the Gabbai came over and tapped on my shoulder inviting me to do Hagbah.

As I approached the Bima the Gabai cautioned me, “Careful this is a heavy Sefer Torah!” It was a temporary replacement for the one that was found Possul, invalid on Shabbos. Then the Gabbai Sheni chimed in, “The handle is loose!” My frightful dream woke up that moment and I decided to call an emergency time out. I walked over to the Rosh HaYeshiva and told him that I am not picking up this Sefer Torah. He asked why. I told him, “I had a dream this morning that a Sefer Torah was falling!” He told me confidently, “That’s a good dream!” I picked up the Torah without an issue.

Later I asked him how seeing a Sefer Torah falling is a good dream?! He said, “I have to do carpool after Davening. Come with me.” It was pouring rain. As the kids came into the van and then as they exited to school he exclaimed, “Rain is good! Rain is good!” When we got back to Yeshiva he told me that the Talmud says about dreams, “Everything goes after the interpretation!” Saying it’s good makes it good!

King David tells us when HASHEM will return us from our captivity in exile “we will have been like dreamers.” Our current perception of reality is like that of a dreamer and so our dreams are begging for a good interpretation!