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Shabbat Parashat Chukat 5772

Ein Ayah: The Interpretation of Ones Friends Dreams and Life

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Berachot 9:71)

Gemara: “The royal baker saw that he [Yosef] had interpreted the dream well” (Bereishit 40:16). How did he know? Rabbi Elazar said: This teaches us that They [the Heavens] showed each one his own dream and the interpretation of his friend’s dream.


Ein Ayah: As a rule in regard to a person’s spirit, one perceives things that are closest to himself hazily and those that are farther away he will see clearer. This is true in regard to a multitude of matters that have to do with man’s life. For example, it is easier to measure the distance between stars than the distance between cities. A person may also be able to appraise his friend’s characteristics more truthfully than he will his own. There are advantages for the world that it should be this way. After all, regarding oneself, even if his vision is weak and blurry in this regard, his characteristics will still be of importance to him because of his love of himself. However, if one were not able to have a clear and deep picture of his friend, then there would not be a strong connection between the two.

In the realm of dreams, there is a similar phenomenon. That which relates to oneself, he sees in the riddle-laden form of a dream that lacks an interpretation. In regard to his friend, he sees the clear interpretation. This serves as a teaching regarding society as a whole: one will be able to see that which is spiritually good for his counterpart.


A Small Prophecy

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Berachot 9:72)


Gemara: Rabbi Yochanan said: If one awoke and a pasuk fell into his mouth, this is a small prophecy.


Ein Ayah: Prophecy is a godly power that is found in mankind, which finds expression for special individuals within the nation that is most appropriate to serve as the center of the divine Torah in the world. Whatever is found within humanity, even if it is found in its complete form only with a choice minority therein, certainly exists in a potential, lower, basic form within the entire race. Therefore, everyone in Israel has a level of preparedness for prophecy, which is usually not realized due to a lack of intellectual or other crucial pertinent abilities.

The Rambam writes that prophecy requires a developed intellectual side and an imaginative side in a manner that the two complement and do not impinge one on the other. An actual prophet can have a prophetic dream, where the imaginative side is dominant and the intellectual side also remains engaged. In such a format, he can fulfill “in a vision I will make Myself known to Him” (Bamidbar 12:6). He can also receive a prophecy when awake, when the intellect is dominant, yet his deeply developed imagination is able to produce prophetic visions.

One of the shortcomings that prevents prophecy is an inability to connect the intellectual and imaginative powers. During sleep would be the time that prophecy is more likely, but at that time his intellect is inactive. When he is awake and his intellect is active, his imaginative side is unable to get beyond mundane thoughts.

While prophecy ceased in Bnei Yisrael with the canonization of Tanach, elements of prophecy remains. There may be a flash of quasi-prophecy at the time of natural connection between man’s different states. When one is in between sleep and being awake and the intellectual and the imaginative are most closely linked, he may be privy to a touch of prophecy, which is the lot of his nation. That is why a pasuk that falls into his mouth at this time, contains an element of prophecy to it. While true prophecy is called “a great matter” (see Melachim II, 8:4), a partial divine message is called a small thing. It, though, is a significant thing to receive.
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