Saturday, January 14, 2017

"All dreams follow the interpretation" - you are warned!

Dr. HAIM WEISS: “All Dreams Follow the Interpretation” – Even for the Rabbis! A New Approach to the Story of Abaye, Rava and the Dream Interpreter Bar Hedya (b. Berakhot 55b-56a) (

Dreams – an involuntary human experience of unclear purpose, and of symbolic and enigmatic elements – presented the rabbis with an interpretive, cultural, and theological crux. Their struggle with this challenge, extending from the Mishnah (c. 200 C.E.) all the way to the late midrashim (eighth-ninth centuries), is reflected in dozens of statements, stories, and theological discussions.

In addition to these asides about dreams, three lengthy passages devoted to dreams have come down to us: y. Ma‘aser Sheni 4; 55b-c; Eichah Rabbah, and part of the ninth chapter of b. Berakhot, known by scholars as “Tractate Dreams,” 1 which will be the focus of this article.
Some past posts on dreams and dream interpretation in the Talmud are here, here, here, here, and here.