In this week’s Parsha (Torah Portion), Parshat Miketz, the story of Yoseph (Joseph) that began in last week’s Parsha, Parshat Vayeshev, continues, as does the theme of dreams. A question that is often asked about the Yoseph stories in the Torah is: what is the nature of Yoseph’s ability to have dreams and interpret them? Are Yoseph’s dreams a message from God? Are they prophetic or just Yoseph’s mind at work? In Freudian terms, are the dreams a manifestation of Yoseph’s subconscious? When Yoseph interprets the dreams of Pharaoh, is this simply Yoseph interpreting a dream, perhaps using psychology or is God giving over a revelation?
When Yoseph dreams, he is engaging in Prophesy, as Rabbi Kalonymos Kalman Shapira points out in his commentary on the Torah, the Aish Kodesh (Parshat Vayeshev December 2 1939). However, the first kernel of Yoseph’s dream came from himself, as Rabbi Menachem, Mendel of Rimanov seems to indicate in his commentary on Parshat Vayeshev. He had to be able to be open to receiving the dream, to receiving the message.
In Bereishit/Genesis Chapter 41 Pharaoh has dreams that he does not understand. When Yoseph interprets the dreams of Pharaoh, that is also Yoseph being endowed by God, as the commentator Sforno points out on Bereishit/Genesis 41:16. Pharaoh essentially says this to Yoseph, Bereishit/Genesis 41:15 “…Now I heard it said of you that you understand dream[s] [and you are able] to interpret [them].” In line 16 Yoseph responds “… That is beyond me; it is God who will respond…”. However, if Yoseph would not have even tried to interpret the dreams perhaps he would not have been aided by God. More importantly once receiving the message, Yoseph knows what to do with the message, how to put a plan together and how to act. There are many Brachot (Blessings) that God gives us but we have to act on those Brachot. Perhaps our dreams give us messages about how we should act on those Brachot. We need to join with God to make our Brachot for the future into a reality.
The following is excerpted from the song “Dream Weaver” by Gary Wright:
I have just closed my eyes again. Climbed aboard the Dream Weaver train . . .
To listen to Gary Wright’s song, “Dream Weaver” click HERE.
Torah, Haftorah and Holiday parallel:
A parallel between the Torah reading, the Haftorah (the portion of the Prophets read after the Torah reading) and Chanukah. This week’s Haftorah is a special Haftorah for Shabbat Chanukah, taken from the Prophet Zechariah. There is a beautiful line towards the end of the Haftorah. Zechariah 4:6 “Lo B’chayil, Vlo B’koach, Kee im Biruchi Amar Hashem Tzvaoat”. “Not by the might, nor by the strength, but by the spirit says God, the Lord of Hosts”. People often interpret this line to mean that might and strength are irrelevant and it is only spirituality that is important. In other words, forget about all practicality in life, trust in God and all we be well. However, there is another way to look at this line. Yes, might and strength are important, but any goal must start with spirit—both the spirit of God and the human spirit. The theme of dreams and dream interpretation in the story of Yoseph and the theme of miracles in the Chanukah story are parallel to each other and to the message of the Haftorah. They are all messages about a partnership between humanity and God. I bless you all that we all work hard with our partner, our senior partner, God.
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