A Dream not Interpreted is Like a Letter not Read

by tillerofthesoil

Charles-Freger-elephants-14

“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, You, king, your thought has risen as you lay asleep of what will be in the time to come, and the Revealer of Mysteries has made known to you what will be (Daniel 2:29). Or if you like, I can derive it from here: that you may know your heart’s thoughts (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).

“[Rabbi Amora’s] disciples asked: What is חֹלֶם (ḥolem)? He replied: Soul—if you heed her, your body will be תַּחְלִים (taḥlim), revived, in the time to come. And should you rebel against her? [Your requital] shall come back—חוֹלִים (ḥolim), diseases—on your head (Obadiah 1:15), and חֶלְיָה (ḥelyah), jewelry [or: illness], on her head. Furthermore, they say: Every חֲלוֹם (ḥalom), dream, is in the ḥolem. Every white precious stone is with חֹלֵם (ḥolem), a dreamer, as is written, and אַחְלָמָה (aḥlamah), crystal (Exodus 28:19)” (Bahir §41).

“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).

“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).