Are you a dreamer?
This week we will explore the dramatic narrative where Yaakov is forced to flee from his brother Eisav’s wrath after taking his blessings. He leaves his native Be’er Sheva and sets out for his family in Charan. While on his way, he grows tired and lays down to rest. He then dreams. He sees a ladder stretching all the way to the heavens. There are angels climbing up and down this ladder. G-d then speaks to Yaakov and promises him the land upon which he is resting and multitudes of descendants.
What is interesting is that the Torah doesn’t say that Yaakov fell asleep in this story! The implication is that because Yaakov was tired from his journey, he must have lay down and fallen asleep before he dreamt. But there is no word for sleep in the narrative, just “Vayishkav” – “And he lay down”.
I believe there is a hidden message here. You needn’t only dream when you sleep. You can also dream while awake! And sometimes it’s these dreams that are the most potent, promising and real.
When is the last time you set time aside to dream? To dream about what your future could look like? Or to consider those things are most important to you and whether or not you are actively pursuing those things?
Dreaming allows us to go beyond ourselves to refocus on those things that will give us true joy and meaning.
Yaakov was one of our three founding fathers. He bequeathed this trait into all of us as individuals. And also as a nation. The Jewish people are still here because we have never stopped dreaming. Dreaming for a better world, a world in which everyone is given the respect that they deserve. A world in which the powerless are empowered and the lowly are raised. A world in which all peoples of the earth can live together, side by side, in peace. That is our power, our secret and our hope.
Wishing you a wonderful Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Yossi and Chana Raizel Friedman