web analytics
April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Dream A Little Dream Of Me

Gross-112213

Share Button

Of all the “what were they thinking” stories we have in Tanach, the story of Yosef definitely takes the cake. He knows his brothers hate him and should not be messed with. And yet he begs, “Please hear my dreams, in which you all bow down to me.” His brothers have to be thinking, “Are you kidding me?” Indeed, is Yosef so terribly clueless that he can’t read his tenuous social standing? And, if for some reason he didn’t catch the scent of hatred before he related his dream, how could he miss it after the first dream? Why in the world would he tell them another dream? It’s almost as if Yosef has a death wish, and his brothers are only too happy to oblige. Everything we know about Yosef seems to point to an astute observer with very strong people skills; how could he have misread his brothers feelings so miserably?

One possible answer is that Yosef realizes his dreams are prophetic. He knows that prophets are commanded to reveal their prophecies, and thus feels compelled to do so, no matter the danger to his person. However, this raises a slew of questions. What is the purpose of his prophecy? What constructive purpose could there possibly be in telling his brothers that he would rule over them? Additionally, we know that the only prophecies that have everlasting significance are recorded. Why record Yosef’s if the only message is that his brothers would bow down to him?

I have also always wondered why Yosef’s brothers never realize that the man standing before them in Egypt is Yosef. The Talmud tells us that they do not recognize him because he now has a beard. But that only explains why they do not recognize him immediately. It does not explain why after being presented with hint after hint that this is Yosef, they still remain in the dark. He knows their ages, doesn’t eat with the Egyptians, probably didn’t look Egyptian. Was it so hard to realize who this was? And, when Yosef finally does reveal himself, why are they shocked speechless? Their reactions should have been, “Stupid us, how did we miss this?”

To explain the brothers’ reaction to Yosef’s revelation the Midrash Rabbah relates the following lesson:

Abba Kohen Bardela said, Woe onto us from the day of judgment, woe onto us from the day of reproach. Yosef was the youngest of the brothers, yet the brothers were unable to withstand his admonishment, as it says, “And his brothers could not answer him.” How much more so will this be the case when Hashem will come and admonish each and every one of us for what he is, as it is written, “I will rebuke you and set the matter before your eyes.”

The Midrash is perplexing. When does Yosef scold his brothers? Yosef only says five words, “I’m Yosef. Is my father still alive?” This could hardly be considered a harsh criticism of his brothers’ behavior. And, what does this have to do with the Day of Judgment?

To answer we must begin by analyzing Yosef’s dreams. What do they mean? What is Yosef’s message? And, why two dreams? What does the second dream add?

If we look at the dreams we realize that a few things change between the first and second. First, in the second dream the brothers do not appear; they are only represented by a number. Second, in the first dream there is no representation of his parents; in the second they appear as the sun and the moon. Third, the brothers’ reaction to the first dream is hatred; the reaction to the second is jealousy. Why?

Everyone understands that the meaning of Yosef’s dreams is that his brothers would bow down to him. Hence we ask: Why is that significant for the brothers to know? What is amazing about Yosef’s dreams is that, in fact, his brothers never bow down to him! Even in the first dream when the brothers are standing right there they do not bow; only their sheaves bow. Yosef never meant to say that his brothers would bow down. Unfortunately, the brothers misunderstand his prophecy as saying exactly such, and hate him for it. So Hashem sends another dream, another prophesy, in order to make the message clearer, and help them understand he does not mean them. Therefore, they are taken out of the dream and only represented by a number. In addition, his father (who obviously Yosef would never dream would bow to him), and his mother (who had died) are represented. The message should have been clear, “I don’t mean you!”

Share Button

About the Author: Rabbi Karmi Gross is a resident of Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel, where he serves as the Rav of the Bialle Shteibel. He is also the founder and Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivas Derech Chaim. Rabbi Gross has been active in the field of Jewish education for the past thirty years and is currently the curriculum director for Yeshivas Eitz Chaim in Toronto and Yeshivah College in Johannesburg, South Africa.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “Dream A Little Dream Of Me”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Putin-Obama Meme 1
Egypt Signing Unprecedented $3 Billion MiG-35 Deal with Russia
Latest Judaism Stories
Reiss-041814-King

Amazingly, each and every blade was green and moist as if it was just freshly cut.

PTI-041814

All the commentaries ask why Hashem focuses on the Exodus as opposed to saying, “I am Hashem who created the entire world.”

Leff-041814

Someone who focuses only on the bones of the Torah makes his bones dry and passionless.

The following is President Obama’s statement on Passover (April 14, 2014). As he has in the past, the President held an official Passover Seder at the White House. Michelle and I send our warmest greetings to all those celebrating Passover in the United States, in Israel, and around the world. On Tuesday, just as we […]

The tendency to rely on human beings rather than G-d has been our curse throughout the centuries.

“Who is wise? One who learns from each person” (Pirkei Avot 4:1)

In Judaism, to be without questions is a sign not of faith, but of lack of depth.

“I’ll try to help as we can,” said Mr. Goodman, “but we already made a special appeal this year. Let me see what other funds we have. I’ll be in touch with you in a day or two.”

Rashi is bothered by the expression Hashem used: “the Jews need only travel.”

Reckoning Time
‘Three Festivals, Even Out Of Order’
(Beizah 19b)

Two husbands were there to instruct us in Texas hold ‘em – and we needed them.

Question: Why do we start counting sefirat ha’omer in chutz la’aretz on the second night of Pesach when the omer in the times of the Beit Hamikdash was cut on Chol HaMoed?

M. Goldman
(Via E-Mail)

A few background principles regarding the prohibitions of chametz mixtures on Pesach may provide some shopping guidance.

According to the Rambam, the k’nas applies to any chametz on Pesach with which one could, in theory, transgress the aveirah – even if no transgression actually occurred.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

More Articles from Rabbi Karmi Gross
Gross-031414

When battling Amalek, G-d hides His face and expects man to wage war for his own relevance.

Gross-112213

Of all the “what were they thinking” stories we have in Tanach, the story of Yosef definitely takes the cake. He knows his brothers hate him and should not be messed with. And yet he begs, “Please hear my dreams, in which you all bow down to me.”

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/dream-a-little-dream-of-me/2013/11/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: