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Shabbat Parashat B'ha'alotcha 5772

Ein Ayah: The Hands of the Kohen and the Realization of the Potential of a Dream

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Berachot 9:53)

Gemara: One who saw a dream and does not know what he saw should get up before the kohanim when they lift up their hands [to bless] and say: “Master of the Universe, I am Yours, and my dreams are Yours. I dreamed a dream, and I do not know what it is … If [the dreams] are good, strengthen them … and if [the dreams] need healing, heal them …”


Ein Ayah: The idea of a blessing taking effect specifically with the help of the kohanim demonstrates that all matters of one’s needs and internal demands are connected to the Divine Providence. The secret of the Divine wisdom constantly “greets” the matter based on the intricacies of the person’s spirit, as all are the work of Hashem’s hands. Since a person’s soul contains powers of imagination and feeling, the powers need to be guided with Divine Providence, wisdom, and great mercy so that the great goal of success and individual and communal shleimut (completeness) will emerge through these powers. Therefore, even though dreams are a matter of relative weakness, they, like everything else in the world, are not left to chance, but are connected to Hashem’s guidance of a person’s life.

Why do blessings take hold with the help of the kohanim? A normal person relates better emotionally to something good if he sees that holy people who approach Hashem and call out to Him are answered. For this reason, Hashem implanted in the bloodline of Aharon that they would have members with the quality that blessing would emerge through them.

This also creates a connection between a person’s power of imagination, which is designed to enable him to maximize his spiritual potential, and the blessing of the kohanim. In order for the kohanim to carry out this lofty task, they must raise their hands toward the people to demonstrate that a connection has to be made between the two groups, In that way, the kohanim can teach the nation the way of life and use the “work of their hands” to make the people wiser and better. About the kohanim it is said: “The lips of the kohen will preserve knowledge, and they will request Torah from his mouth” (Malachi 2:7). It also says about them: “In peace and in the straight path he walked with Me, and many did he turn away from sin” (ibid.). So too, the internal power that a person has in regard to goodness and justice has to come to fruition through what he does with the work of his hands.

All sorts of things go on within a person’s inner spirit. Ideas and feelings cause images to appear to him as he sleeps at night. These images impact upon him positively to fill his heart with fear of Hashem and to help him on the path toward eternal life. The nucleus of the internal stimuli that come to a person and the things that happen to him are always for the good. Even seemingly arbitrary events are woven into a personal tapestry of Divine Providence. Thus, even a forgotten dream is an internal motivating factor toward an ultimate good because it moves a person’s heart in the direction of good. While being troubled by one’s dreams could be a sign of internal weakness, if a person’s uses it as a springboard to add goodness to his life, it turns out that that it is not a sign of weakness but a proper natural inclination. Indeed, Hashem created man and guides him in a manner that behooves him to use all his natural inclinations for good. These inclinations include the love of family and homeland, compassion, and a sense of justice. All of these feelings come from within, and the “softness” of one’s spirit allows him to dig deep into his heart and use the feelings to move him from a certain level of characteristics to another.

The special quality of kohanim is used positively when they use their hands to improve the spiritual and ethical state of the people. Similarly, the special quality of a dream, whose content is unknown to he who dreamed it, will reach its potential when he uses it as impetus to further his resolve to follow the way of Hashem.

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Hemdat Yamim

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