I Have a Dream

Parshas Vayeishev

Dreams feature prominently in our Parsha. The dreams of Joseph that precipitated his slavery in Egypt, the dreams of Pharaoh that needed interpretation, and the dreams of Joseph’s fellow prisoners, that eventually led to his release. The word for dream in Hebrew is “chalom”, spelled chet, lamed, mem. A great Chassidic thinker once pointed out that the letters of chalom can be rearranged to spell, lochem, fight, and mochel, forgive or forgo.  He said that when a person has a dream, they always have a choice to either fight for its fulfillment (lochem) or to forgo and give up on the dream (mochel).

Joseph was not prepared to give up on his dreams or on the dreams of others, and so he succeeded and became the viceroy of Egypt and the vehicle of salvation for his family and all of Egypt.  The word chalom¸ also means “heal” and we know that dreams can have a therapeutic effect on people who have suffered traumas. However, following the thought of the Chassidic teacher, we can also suggest, that the pursuit of a dream, may also be therapeutic. A person with a vision of his destiny and with clarity regarding his purpose in life, a person who is following his dream, is a person who is more likely to be happy and healthy.

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