Torah Dreams By Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David (Greg Killian) Torah Dreams 1 The Ten Dreams 2 The First Dream Avimelech 2 Yosef’s Dreams 3 Paro’s Dreams 4 a dream

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First Dream

Second Dream


Dream by night…

In a dream…



Sun, moon, and stars…

In Prison

Cup Bearer…





The root of the Hebrew word for dream (chalom - חולם) appears forty-eight times in Bereshit and another seven times in the other four books. These numbers corresponds exactly to the statement in the Talmud that there were forty-eight prophets and seven prophetesses who prophesied to Israel.

Megilah 14a Our Rabbis taught: ‘Forty-eight prophets and seven prophetesses prophesied to Israel, and they neither took away from nor added aught to what is written in the Torah save only the reading of the Megillah‘.

Yosef’s Dreams

When Yosef was seventeen years old he had two dreams. The first dream he tells his brothers. The second dream he tells his brothers and his father. Note this sequence in the following pasukim:

Bereshit (Genesis) 37:5-11 And Yosef dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. 6 And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: 7 For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. 8 And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words. 9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. 10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? 11 And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.
Note that Yosef’s brothers reacted strongly to his first dream, but, they had no reaction to his second dream. His father, Yaaqov, on the other hand, reacted strongly to the second dream because he did not know about the previous dream.
In both dreams, HaShem presents the vivid prophecy that Yaaqov along with his mother and brothers would bow down to Yosef. His brothers realized that the repetition of the dream attested to its veracity. While they could ascribe the first dream to Yosef’s imagination, however, the repetition of the dream meant that it was not his youthful imagination, but rather it was from HaShem. We see that significant dreams often come in pairs. In fact, Radak says that the repetition of the dream shows that they are prophetic.
In the second dream, Yosef dreams that the moon will bow down to him. It is understood that the sun is Yaaqov and the eleven stars are Yosef’s brothers. This means that the moon represents Rachel, Yosef’s mother. At this time, Rachel is dead. Hence Yaaqov’s concern about this dream. Clearly, this part of the dream can not come true.
The Gemara3 derives from this very incident that no dream ever comes true completely; even if part of a dream comes true, there is always some part of it which is meaningless and will not come true. We will explore this concept in greater detail, later in this study.
Time would reveal the truth of both dreams. In the end we find that Yosef’s brother’s came and bowed dow to Yosef because they needed to buy grain. Thus the dream represents the brothers as sheaves of grain.
Interestingly, Chazal derive that we may have to wait up to twenty-two years for the fulfillment of a dream because that it is how long it took for Yosef’s dreams to find fulfillment. Chazal teach that the twenty-two years differential is possible because the dreams did not take place on the same night.

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