How to Dream New Realities
This Dvar Torah is based upon the inspirational message given by Rabbi Eliot Pearlson of Temple Menorah at the Hebrew Academy's Annual Dinner a few years ago.
This week's Parasha Miketz and last week's Parasha Vayeishev have the running theme of dreams.
You'll recall that Yosef/Joseph proclaims two dreams he has about his and his family's future -- the bowing sheaves and the sun/moon/stars.
Then later in life, Yosef listens to the dreams of Paro's/ Pharoah's chief cupbearer and chief baker who are imprisoned with him.
And finally after being hauled out of prison, Paro himself tells Yosef his own dream that foreshadows the future for the entire nation of Egypt (7 fat cows/years, 7 lean cows/years).
Rabbi Pearlson noted that if you look closely at the text, you can categorize these dreams into two general categories. In one category are found the baker and Paro's dreams, which are told in passive voice and in which the protagonists (the baker and Paro) are passive agents in the story: "The birds were eating out of the basket above my head." "Paro dreamed that he was standing by the Nile..."
In the other category are found the dreams of Yosef and the cupbearer, which are told in an active voice and in which they are dynamic protagonists: "There we were binding sheaves in the field, when suddenly my sheaf stood up and remained upright; then your sheaves gathered around and bowed low to my sheaf...I have had another dream and this time the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me." "Paro's cup was in my hand and I took the grapes, pressed them into Paro's cup and placed the cup in Paro's hand."
The take-home message: A dream will always remain just a dream... as long as we are passive.
If we want to translate our dreams into reality- especially for Jewish education, for our children's Jewish identity, for our communal future- we have to DO SOMETHING to make them a reality.
If we want an educated, engaged, passionate Jewish community now and in the future, we must devote some of our volunteer hours, our financial resources, and our advocacy towards making it a happen.
As Theodor Herzl said (originally in German) regarding the dream of a Jewish State: Im Tirtzu, Ein Zo Aggada-(more modern translation) If you want it bad enough, it won't remain a dream.
This Shabbat Hanukkah, let's take that message to heart. Let’s make our light shine brighter in the world by translating dreams into actual realities so more light can and will be spread!