Dream Good Dreams

Yael Eckstein  |  December 11, 2023

Rabbi Eckstein with an Iranian family whose dream was to make aliyah.

Each of us had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own. — Genesis 41:11

Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Mikeitz, which means “at the end,” from Genesis 41:1–44:17.

The Talmud, Judaism’s oral tradition, teaches that if a person goes seven days without having a dream, then he is not a righteous person. However, the rabbis explained that the Talmud was not talking about the dreams that we have at night, over which we have no control. Rather, they were talking about those that we have while we are awake. We should never go a week or more without a dream in our heart.

This week’s Torah portion continues with this theme in the story of Joseph’s life. In Genesis 37, we read about the dreams that Joseph had when he was young. In Genesis 40, we learn that Joseph interpreted dreams for two of Pharaoh’s servants. In this week’s reading, we read that Pharaoh had recurring dreams and Joseph interpreted them as well. All of these were more than just random thoughts. They were transformed into actions that then became reality.

Good Dreams

While we don’t control the dreams that we have at night and we don’t always understand their meaning, we can control those we have during the day. It is so important to have good dreams. Our dreams become ideas that then become actions, which can ultimately change our reality and the reality of our world.

Nearly forty years ago, my father, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, dreamed of bringing Jews and Christians together, of helping millions of people living in poverty, of bringing hundreds of thousands of Jews home to Israel. People told him that his dreams were crazy and that they would never come to be. But here we are decades later, and every one of them has come to pass. All because one person dared to dream.

These days, too many people have stopped dreaming. It’s easy to get discouraged and stop believing that anything is possible. Too often, we give up on what God has put in our heart and make do with the status quo. But God wants us to dream! He wants us to imagine and pray for a better tomorrow. When we dream, we express our faith in God that He can make them become reality, and we partner with Him in creating a better world.

Be a Holy Land Hero

As we all pray for the day that true shalom, peace, will come to the Holy Land, let us also pray for God’s protection over the people of Israel as they face an ongoing war.