Beit Midrash

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What Do You Dream About At Night?

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Rabbi Haggai Lundin

Kislev 10 ,5783
In our Parasha, our patriarchs encounter the concept of a "dream" for the first time. Our forefather Yaakov dreams of "a ladder was set on the earth and its top reaching to the heavens". A dream is a strange phenomenon: fractions of seconds in which an entire world passes through our heads – places, times, characters – all mix in our thoughts in disarray and leave us with vague feelings. For the most part, the dream consists of the things that left the strongest impression on us before we went to bed (hence the halachic guidance that the last words said before going to sleep are the words of the Bedtime Shema).

In biblical times, fateful decisions were made according to dreams, the dream is actually an expression of one's inner aspirations. The dream integrates the innermost parts of the personality with overt conduct. Nowadays, we do not take our dreams into consideration directly, but sometimes they can reflect to us where our emotional world is – what is your dream?

Here is some good advice: before going to bed, turn off the cell phone, study a religious text for five minutes (I learn "Mesilat Yesharim" [Path of the Upright by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto]), do some soul-searching with yourself for another two minutes, and then, as a last thing before going to bed, say the Bedtime Shema – and you will find that your dreams will be clearer and better. Even if the day had been the most challenging and hurtful in your life, and even if a more challenging and hurtful day awaits you tomorrow – the dream will heal you.
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