Bereshit (Genesis) 41:7 “…and Paro awoke and behold – it had been a dream!”
The Torah adds the phrase “it had been a dream!” to indicate that the dream was so vivid that Paro thought he had been witnessing real events.
Paro dreamt two dreams. One involving sheaves and one involving cows. We will start by examing the dream with the cows in it.
Paro’s first dream needs to be examined carefully in order to understand why Yosef’s interpretation was accepted, while Paro’s magician’s interpretation was not accepted.
In the Torah we find that words are crefully conserved and that only the words that are needed are recorded. In Paro’s dream, the Torah first tells us what Paro actually dreams. After this, the Torah tells us the dream as Paro relates it to Yosef. This repetition is needed only if there are differences that are important. Since Paro made the changes intentionally, we can understand that he did it in order to test the veracity of the interpretation.
These changes were Paro’s secret, and he used them to see who would correctly interpret the dreams and who would be led astray by these incorrect details. It should be emphasized that Paro apparently understood that this was no regular dream but rather a Divine message, which caused “his spirit to be troubled.” The genuine interpreter of such a dream would certainly know how to distinguish between the crux of the message and an insignificant detail, between the dream itself and Pharaoh’s personal additions, between what was related and the hidden message.
We, therefore, need to understand the differences between what Paro dreamt and how he related his dream. To facilitate this understanding I have highlighted the essential differences, in red, in the following table.
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