God Speaks to Us in Our Dreams

Yael Eckstein  |  November 29, 2021

In the morning his mind was troubled, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him. — Genesis 41:8

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.

Did you ever wake up knowing that you just had an important dream? I sometimes have dreams that I know are important, but I often feel confused trying to figure out exactly what God is telling me. The Talmud teaches that dreams are “one sixtieth of prophecy.”

In other words, while we don’t fully hear the voice of God speaking to us in dreams, God uses dreams to communicate with us. But this leads to a question. Why are dreams so difficult to understand? Why does God do this? Why not just speak to us directly?

I believe that the reason that God speaks to us in our dreams, which are typically confusing and nonsensical, is to make us search for answers. God wants us to put in the effort to understand what He is telling us. Think of it like a teacher who doesn’t want to give the answer, so he gives the students a hint.

In the same passage in the Talmud, the rabbis teach that “every dream follows the interpretation.” What this means is that God’s plan is not spelled out clearly in the dream itself. The results of our dreams depend, in part, on how we understand them.

God Speaks to Us in Our Dreams

The story of Joseph is full of dreams. And every time, the impact of the dream is the result of the interpretation. First, Joseph dreams about his role in the family. His brothers interpreted them negatively and sold him into slavery. Then, when Joseph was imprisoned in Egypt, his interpretation of the dreams of the cupbearer and the baker led to his release.

Finally, in this week’s Torah portion, Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams and was then elevated to the position of viceroy over all Egypt. In each case, how the dreams were understood led directly to the pivotal events in Joseph’s life.

God waits until we are sleeping, when the distractions of the world are quieted, and He speaks to us in our dreams. If we ignore these dreams, we will miss God’s messages. When we seek to understand them, we allow God’s plan to direct the course of our lives.

Your Turn:

Think about dreams that you have had. Share your dreams with someone close to you. Seek their help in understanding what God is saying.

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