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Judaism and understanding dreams

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Rabbi Ari Shvat

Tevet 29, 5782
Question
Rabbi, how are dreams explained to us? Why do they seem so real. Why do I sometimes become attached to dream people and then wake up back here on Earth? Is there any opinion or commentary on dreams and what they could mean?
Answer
Rav Kook explains that God runs the world on many levels, and one of them is dreams. Sometimes He wants to give us a little pleasure by sending us a pleasant dream or a friendly person in a dream- like a love-note, while at other times, He feels it beneficial to send us a little fright or punishment to keep us "on our toes", by sending us a frightening dream, which gives us some tension, until we soon awake and quickly realize it was just a dream. Similarly, there are cases in life where we are either happy or scared and it turns out to be nothing, which is just an additional level through which He works. Much has been written on dreams in the 9th chapter of Masechet Brachot, and see Rav Kook's detailed commentary, Ain Aya, there. Just remember, that there is no prophecy today, and dreams are almost always insignificant, and simply mirror sub-conscious thoughts or feelings that one has during the day. Today, most "dreams don't add nor do they detract" (Gittin 52a), and "dreamers speak lies" (Zecharia 10, 2) for most dreams are insignificant.
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