Miketz 5782 – Our Dreams

By: Dr. Jeffrey Buch

How do we know the validity of our dreams and how to interpret them:   Are they guideposts for life, signs from Hashem, or are they Freudian activities for working out the incongruities of our personality and exorcising our demons?  How do we know when they are one or the other?

For Joseph, dreams were the stuff of destiny, the predictors of things to come as seen in today’s Parshah.  But for the rest of us, who are not on such a large scale as pieces of G-d’s grand plan for all mankind, what do our dreams mean?  How do we place them in perspective?  Oy… all of these questions and no answers!  Please bear with me for a moment.

It takes a wise heart, guided by Torah, to properly interpret dreams and place them in perspective.  When we choose not to place ourselves as the primary focus of our dreams, this allows us to have a starting point toward finding a greater purpose for our dreams.  In our Parshah today, Joseph parlays his G-d given talent of interpreting dreams into his position as second only to Pharoah in ruling over Egypt.  By comparison, I would speculate that none of us here today has even close to that level of talent for interpreting dreams.

However, each one of us does have our own unique G-d given talents.  I would posit an alternative “take-home message” from this Parshah, that we should recognize our own individual G-d given talents and use them to benefit not just ourselves, but for the benefit of the greater community.

Joseph sets the example for this concept.  In his youth, his talent with dreams was self-aggrandizing and created a disdain for him amongst his brothers which ultimately landed him in a pit, then slavery and the jail.  Only with the passage of time, the gaining of experience and the acquisition of wisdom was Joseph then able to learn to use his gift properly.  He advanced his position in a way that served Hashem’s greater purpose, so that he might not only save his own family but also save the future of the Hebrew people.

I see in my own life’s path, that much of my own early achievement, albeit clothed in the altruistic garb of a scientific and medical career, may have been more about my own ego than being about the people I was destined to serve.  Only through time and the acquisition of wisdom can any of us gain the insight, with G-d’s help, to experience the humility to recognize the joy of serving our fellow humans.

We should each, celebrate our own journeys on such a path.  For without a community that contains each of us with our own unique G-d given talents, there can be no community!  Shabbat Shalom!