GOOD MORNING! Is there a significance to dreams? We all dream. Sometimes we even remember a dream, but what is the meaning of the dream? The Talmud tells us that generally speaking we dream about what goes on in our lives during the day. Perhaps we are psychologically incorporating the events into our psyche. However, there are also prophetic dreams like the ones Joseph had indicating that one day he would be a ruler. Even Pharaoh had dreams with prophetic significance ...
My wife has a very close friend who got married 3 months before us. The night before her own wedding, she prayed to the Almighty that her father who had passed on two years previously would come to her in a dream and give her a sign that he was happy for her. Before her father died, she dreamed that he was going to pass away and felt she at least deserved a happy dream, too.
At the time of our wedding in Jerusalem, my wife's friend and new husband were in the United States visiting his family. Comes the night of our wedding and my wife's friend dresses up in her Shabbat finest, sets the dining room table with the nicest table cloth and best china, bought flowers, played music and prepares a feast. Her new in-laws are wondering what is going on with the girl their son married ... so they ask her.
She replies, "My best friend is getting married in Israel and I can't be there. However, I want to celebrate her simcha (joyous occasion)." Perhaps the in-laws were a little bewildered, but their minds were set at ease.
That night my wife's friend had a dream. She saw her father, a noted and well-respected rabbi walking in Gan Eden (the Garden of Eden) with Rabbi Akiva Eiger (one of the most distinguished, learned and respected rabbis in the history of the Jewish people) discussing Torah. He looked well and happy. Though she couldn't hear the animated discussion, she was enraptured by the colors and the atmosphere.
She woke up puzzled. What did her father have to do with Rabbi Akiva Eiger who lived centuries before? How did she know her father was talking with Rabbi Eiger? She never saw a picture of Rabbi Eiger. She was overjoyed with the dream, but puzzled. She told no one of the dream.
Several years later at their Shabbat table in Jerusalem, the guests were discussing customs pertaining to weddings. Out of the blue, one guest says, "Rabbi Akiva Eiger felt it was so important to partake in the joy of a wedding that when he couldn't attend, he would make a celebration at the same time as the wedding!" Shocked! Immediately she understood her dream and why it was Rabbi Akiva Eiger who her father was with! Her father was telling her that when he saw that she was happy in her friend's simcha though she was far away, that he was celebrating her simcha though far away!
And then she thought some more on lessons she could learn from this. First, when we care for another person, it makes a big impact in the heavenly world. Second, feeling joy for another person's happiness is a goal that each of us has to reach. When she focused on her own wedding and own concerns, her father did not appear to her. Only after she focused on her friend's wedding, did she merit for her father to appear in her dream.
The Almighty tells us in the Torah "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Leviticus 19:18). Actually, the verse reads in its totality, "Love your neighbor as yourself, I am the Almighty." What is the significance of adding the words, "I am the Almighty"? The Chasam Sofer clarifies that the commandment to love our fellow human being is a concept that anyone can relate to with his own intellect. Yet, the Torah is telling us to love others because it is the Almighty's will.
If we love others based on our own feelings, there can be a lack of consistency. One day you might feel positive towards someone and the next day your feelings can change. The Almighty is telling us that this is not just a nice thing to do, it is a commandment. It is necessary for the existence of the world and for people to live together in society. How do we love others? Focus on the good in others and it will generate a feeling of love. You cannot love someone for their negative attributes -- you can only love them for their positive qualities and the good deeds.
Who knows what wonderful dreams we'll merit through loving others?
Torah Portion of the Week
This week we conclude the ten plagues with the plagues of locusts, darkness and the death of the first-born. The laws of Passover are presented, followed by the commandment to wear tefillin, consecrate the first-born animal and redeem one's first born son. The Torah tells us that at some time in the future your son will ask you about these commandments and you will answer: "With a show of power, God brought us out of Egypt, the place of slavery. When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us leave, God killed all the first-born in Egypt, man and beast alike. I, therefore, offer to God all male first-born (animals) and redeem all the first-born of sons. And it shall be a sign upon your arm, and an ornament between your eyes (Tefillin), for with a strong hand the Almighty removed us from Egypt" (Ex. 13:15).
* * *
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states:
"And Moshe said, 'This is what the Almighty said, "Around midnight I will go out in the midst of Egypt and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt will die" ' " (Exodus 11:4).
Rashi cites the Sages of the Talmud that the Almighty actually told Moshe that exactly at midnight He would cause the plague of the death of the firstborn. Why did Moshe then change His words to "around midnight" when he repeated the Almighty's words to the Egyptians?
Rashi brings the answer of the Sages that "Perhaps Pharaoh's astrologers will err in their calculation of the precise midpoint of the night and say that 'Moses is a liar" (Talmud Bavli, Berachot 4a).
Amazing! Nine plagues have already hit the Egyptians. Moshe has warned them and been correct each time. Now the firstborn of each family throughout Egypt dies. What difference does it make whether it is a few minutes before or after midnight?
The answer: This illustrates the power of a person to find fault. From what might have been a minor discrepancy -- and perhaps a discrepancy due to their own calculations -- they would seek to call Moshe a liar and discredit him totally. When a person wants to find fault, he will find something.
Our lesson: 1) Be aware of when we fall into the trap of finding fault when we should be focusing on the positive in others and on the bigger picture 2) Be aware when others are fault-finders ... and tread gently because these personalities are easily irritated and difficult to deal with.
CANDLE LIGHTING - January 18
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Rabbi Kalman Packouz
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