Making Dreams a Reality

TThe following Dvar Torah was inspired by
Rabbi Eliot Pearlson of Temple Menorah.

Art by Zoe Sever

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).
 
If you look closely at the text, you can categorize these dreams into two general categories. In one "camp," are the baker and Paro's dreams. These dreams are told in passive voice and 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 "camp," are 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 invest in Jewish education by devoting some of our volunteer hours (if you aren't a Jewish professional), financial resources, and advocacy to ensure it happens.
 
As Theodor Herzl said (originally in German) regarding the dream of a Jewish State: Im Tirtzu, Ein Zo Aggadah-(more modern translation) If you want it bad enough, it won't just be a dream.
 
This Shabbat, let's take that message to heart and make our light shine brighter in the world by translating dreams into actual realities so more light can and will be spread!

Shabbat Shalom

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