A Dream not Interpreted is Like a Letter not Read

by tillerofthesoil

Image“Since a dream includes all, as we have said, all dreams of the world follow oral interpretation. This has been established, for it is written: As he interpreted to us, so it was (Genesis 41:13). Why? Because a dream contains falsehood and truth, and the word controls all, so a dream needs favorable interpretation. Rabbi Yehudah said, ‘Because every dream is of a rung below, controlled by Speech [Shekhinah], so every dream follows speech.’… Joseph dreamed a dream and told it to his brothers, and they hated him even more (Genesis 37:5). From here we learn that a person should tell his dream only to one who loves him. Otherwise, he may prove decisive, for if that dream changes tone, he is the cause” (Zohar 1:183a).

“Rabbi Shemu’el son of Naḥmani said in the name of Rabbi Yonatan: A man is shown in a dream only what is suggested by his own thoughts, as it says, As for you, O king, your thoughts came into your mind upon your bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that reveals secrets makes known to you what shall come to pass (Daniel 2:29). Or if you like, I can derive it from here: And that you might know the thoughts of your heart (ibid. 2:30). Rabba said: This is proved by the fact that a man is never shown in a dream a date palm of gold, or an elephant going through the eye of a needle” (BT Berakhot 55b).

“We should first introduce something said by the ancients in regard to those nighttime visions. For we have learned: ‘One who cohabits with his mother in a dream will attain בִּינָה (binah), understanding (BT Berakhot 57a), as is written: For you will call understanding, אֵם (Em), Mother (Proverbs 2:3) [according to the conventional vocalization: אִם (im)if, you call for understanding].’ Here one should examine. If this is because She is mother, fine; then it should have been written as follows: ‘One who sees his mother in a dream will attain understanding.’ But why ‘one who cohabits with’ her? Well, a supernal mystery! For he was transformed from below to above, ascending. At first, he was a son; once he rises above, the tree is overturned and he becomes part of the upper world, ruling over Her, attaining Binah” (Zohar 2:101a, Sava de-Mishpatim).

“Rav Ḥisda said: A dream not interpreted is like a letter not read” (BT Berakhot 55b).

“There is a visionary mirror [Shekhinah] reflecting supernal colors [the upper sefirot], envisioned in that visionary mirror; there is vision within vision, and vision within vision, one above the other, all poised on specific rungs, presiding, called night vision (Daniel 2:19). Through them spread all dreams of the world, these resembling those above” (Zohar 1:196a).

“Rabbi Yoḥanan also said: Three dreams are fulfilled: A dream of the morning, a dream that one’s fellow dreamed about him, and a dream that is interpreted within a dream. And some say a dream that is repeated” (BT Berakhot 55b).

“Come and see: All prophets of the world absorb from a single facet, through two known rungs [the sefirot Netsaḥ and Hod are considered a single field of prophetic vision]. Those rungs appeared through a dim glass, as is written: בַּמַּרְאָה (ba-mar’ah)in a vision, I make Myself known to him (Numbers 12:6). Who is מַּרְאָה (mar’ah), vision? As has been said: a mirror in which all colors appear; this is the dim glass… You cannot have a dream without false material intermingling… all dreams of the world follow oral interpretation [cf. BT Berakhot 55b]” (Zohar 1:183a).

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