Beit Midrash

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To dedicate this lesson

Exaggeration in Dreams


Various Rabbis

Gemara: Rav Chisda said: Neither a good dream nor a bad dream is completely fulfilled.

Ein Ayah: Hashem planted the power of imagination in man so that he can picture the good and the bad that can come in the future. In that mode, the picture is generally more extreme than what actually happens, and this is for man’s benefit.
When the good is exaggerated in a person’s imagination, he is able to enjoy his expectations in a more joyous and optimistic light, which strengthens his body and spirit. When the bad is portrayed in an exaggerated way, so that it is more frightening than what actually occurs, it will make the person more determined to avoid that which can bring on the realization of the negative possibility.
Dreams are a result of the power of imagination, even though they have a connection to a person’s future, based on the deep plan that Hashem set when He created the world and connected the powers of physicality, spirituality, and ethics to each other. However, since they emerge from the power of imagination, dreams, whether good ones or bad ones, cannot be fulfilled fully.

An Uninterpreted Dream
(condensed from Ein Ayah, Berachot 9:37)

Gemara: Rav Chisda said: A dream that was not interpreted is like a letter that was not read (Rashi- it is not good and not bad, for all dreams follow their interpretations).

Ein Ayah: A letter that is sent is a sign of the desires of the person who sent the letter. It can also be a factor in whether these wishes are fulfilled. Whether or not the recipient reads the letter obviously does not change the desire of the sender. However, whether or not he reads it impacts whether his desire is carried out. Reading it may help it come about. If the recipient does not read it, though, the sender can still work on having his desire fulfilled in other ways.
Since dreams are a set part of the nature of a person’s soul, they must have a purpose. One of the purposes is to prepare a person for that which may come to him in the future. Like other powers that serve people, a dream’s positive or negative potential is realized when one connects human intellect to it. So too, the realization of preparing a person for what will be in the future by means of a dream is connected to the interpretations of dreams. The interpretation incorporates the understanding of the spirit, the quality of the imagination, and its connection to what transpires in the world.
When one has a dream interpreted correctly, it turns out that the dream properly prepares him for a future event. If it is not interpreted, this preparation is not made. Certainly, the desire of He who sent the dream does not change as a result of the lack of interpretation. Rather, Hashem will see to it that that which needs to transpire will transpire with the help of other factors, whether external or internal. Still we view those who interpreted a dream and were thereby involved in its realization as if they caused the result. This is similar to what Chazal said about the pasuk (regarding one who did not erect a fence around his roof): "Lest the one who falls fall" (Devarim 22:8): the person was fit to fall from the six days of creation, but good things are brought about by good people and bad things by bad people (Shabbat 32a).
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