Vayeishev – Dreams

Just two brief ideas about dreams, which are a central theme of the parsha this week and next week.  Joseph tells his brothers about his dreams and a terrible feud ensues.  Later on Joseph interprets the dreams of Pharaoh’s servants and then of Pharaoh himself , leading to salvation and redemption.  One beautiful idea that I saw in a Chassidic work puts the entire chain of events into a concise and relevant statement.  “Joseph’s troubles started when he told everyone else his own dreams; his salvation began when he starting listening to other people’s dreams.”  We are often so busy telling others about ourselves, our aspirations, plans and dreams that we don’t listen to the other.  One of the secrets of redemption that we learn from Joseph is to begin listening to other people’s dreams, hopes and aspirations. 

Another Chassidic idea takes the Hebrew letters of the word dream, חלום and shows that we can rearrange them to produce two very different, almost opposite words. One is לוחם, fight, the other is מוחל, forgive or forgo. The Chassidic thinker said that every time we have a dream we are confronted by the choice of either fighting for it, לוחם, or forgoing it, מוחל.  He said that a successful person is not willing to forgo a dream and is not willing to give up on an ideal.  A righteous person is a fighter, a spiritual person struggles, and as Churchill said, “Will never surrender.”  

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