Thursday, December 11, 2008

Question & Answer With Rabbi Betsalel Edwards - Committing Aveiros In Our Dreams


A Simple Jew asks:

To what degree should we be concerned about the aveiros that we commit in our dreams?

Rabbi Betsalel Edwards answers:

We may be concerned, because often one dreams about the thoughts he entertains during the day. Be honest with yourself to ascertain if this is indeed the case. But remember that it is not at all so simple, and often we find that dreams and reality do not always see eye to eye. In other words, our tradition teaches us that something appalling in waking reality could be an omen of something quite good if found in a dream. By way of example, we find in the Gemara (Berachot, 57a):

If one dreams that he has intercourse with his mother, he may expect to obtain understanding, since it says, 'You will call understanding 'mother'.' If one dreams he has intercourse with a betrothed maiden, he may expect to obtain knowledge of Torah, since it says, 'Moses commanded us a law (the Torah), an inheritance of the congregation of Jacob.' Read not morashah [inheritance], but me'orasah [betrothed]. If one dreams he has had intercourse with his sister, he may expect to obtain wisdom, since it says, 'Say to wisdom, you are my sister.' If one dreams he has intercourse with a married woman, he can be confident that he is destined for the future world, provided he does not know her and did not think of her in the evening.

So we see that when found in dreams, our sages saw deplorable sins such as incest or adultery as metaphors for noble pursuits such as Torah knowledge.

Always seek to derive a good interpretation even for a bad dream, for the fulfillment of dreams follows the interpretation. Also in the Gemara (Berachot, 55b):

Rav Bana'ah told that there were twenty-four interpreters of dreams in Jerusalem. Once I dreamt a dream and I went round to all of them and they all gave different interpretations, and all were fulfilled, thus confirming that which is said: All dreams follow (interpretation of) the mouth.

Still, many dreams can be disturbing, and Chazal gave us advice as to how to deal with and even neutralize the negative aspects of a dream. Sometimes a fast may be warranted. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Haim, 220:1) teaches, "If one has a dream that disturbs him, he may ameliorate it by gathering together three friends, and let them together say before him, "you saw a good dream." Then you should answer, "it was good, and it shall be good."

6 Comments:

At December 11, 2008 at 8:43:00 AM EST, Anonymous rabbi lars said...

this is a strange dream

 
At December 11, 2008 at 9:54:00 AM EST, Blogger Neil Harris said...

Brachos relates several dreams and meanings, IIRC. Great post.

 
At December 11, 2008 at 5:13:00 PM EST, Anonymous Jonathan said...

Exile, as is known, is a dream.

The true meanings of events in our "dream" that is our life here in exile, even our mistakes, will in the future be shown to be wondrous and all for the good.

As it says: "A Song of Ascents: When the returners of Zion come back, we will [realize that we had been] like dreamers [in exile]. Then our mouths will be filled with laughter, our tongues with joy [when we awake and rejoice to see the true meaning of all that we did in the exile, even the things we thought were mistakes at the time.] Then the nations will say, "G-d did great things with these [people]!"

 
At December 12, 2008 at 2:19:00 AM EST, Anonymous yehudis said...

I hate to say this, but I don't believe that the quote from Berachos has blanket application to most ordinary people now. Generally speaking, people dream about the things that they see and contemplate in the course of the day. Since most of us live in highly sexualized environments and are constantly exposed to sights, words, ideas, that are the antithesis of kedushas Yisroel, "committing aveiros in dreams" is the natural outcome.
I think that this is part of what is meant by being "visited by a demon." Usually, feeling unwholesome upon awakening from a dream is a pretty good indicator that you were not having a vision of an influx of Torah knowledge to come!
Teshuvah, tefillah, tzedakah, and hatavas chalom--isn't that what most people advocate nowadays?

 
At December 13, 2008 at 2:03:00 PM EST, Blogger tea mad hatter said...

urgh!

 
At January 28, 2009 at 5:58:00 AM EST, Blogger Betzalel Philip Edwards said...

I second that urgh.

And yet, Yehudis, you bring up a good issue. "THese and these are the words of the Living God." I believe that everything in the Talmud is true, at its time and at its place. I do not know how to interpret dreams, so I defer to Chazal to instruct me. Our sages are unanimous in advocating Teshuva, Tefilah, Tsedaka, and Hatavas Chalom. No matter how much self loathing a man may feel after an incestuous dream, its good to know that its not his opinion that counts in this case, but the knowledge of our sages, of blessed memory.

So if Chazal say that a dream of incest is a sign of future Torah greatness, don't furrow your brow, just bow your head, clench your fist, and say, "all righteous!"

But I must agree with you on the point I throught I adressed, but perhaps to obliquely, at the beginning of the post. If a person has many highly sexually charged dreams,maybe he or she really needs to get out of a "sexually charged environment." If that is not a possibility, the person may want to consult with a wise advisor as learn how to channel his or her libido - read life force, into making the world a better place. If such a person is single, maybe it is a sign that he or she needs to get married, not that it is so simple. May the one and only Shaddchan bring the soul mates together and mammash heal the world, body and neshama!

 

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