Powerful Dreams by Ariel Herzog

(2004/5765) At the end of Parshat Vayeshev, Pharaoh’s butler
and baker ask the imprisoned Yosef to interpret their
dreams. Upon hearing their request, Yosef responds,
“Don’t dreams belong to God?” (40:8). To explain this very
ambiguous Pasuk, the Radak proposes that what Yosef
really means is that Hashem “owns” the interpretations of
dreams. Each dream has an interpretation, for a primary
purpose of dreams is to be a means of communication
from Hashem to us, and Hashem will allow us to know the
meaning of a particular dream.
This Radak may help us understand the life of
Yosef as explained by the Ramban. Yosef grew up being
hated by his brothers, and spent years in prison for a crime
he did not commit. Then, the scales tipped the other way.
He correctly interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams, became
second to king, and finally his entire family bowed down to
him! Regarding this last event (42:9), the Ramban
comments that Yosef did not reveal himself to his brothers
until all eleven were standing in front of him because he
believed the dreams he dreamt in his youth were an
agenda he was destined to fulfill. His first dream had been
that all his brothers would bow down to him. If Yosef
revealed himself to his brothers without Binyamin (who
was still in Eretz Yisrael) present, they would have brought
back Yaakov with Binyamin, and Yosef knew that eleven
brothers would bow down to him without his father.
Therefore, Yosef made an excuse to bring back Binyamin
alone. It was only after all eleven had bowed that Yosef
was willing to reveal himself. Yaakov could then come and
bow down with the rest of the family, thereby fulfilling the
second dream.
How, asks the Ramban, could Yosef dare not to
let his father know as soon as possible that he was alive?
He should have sent for him immediately! The Ramban
answers that Yosef’s drive to fulfill his life’s dream-shaped
agenda was so strong that he felt it had to override
anything. In the moment his brothers stood before him, he
suddenly understood the purpose of all the confusion and
turmoil of his entire life.
The Radak’s comment about dreams gives
support to this Ramban. Dreams, according to Radak, are
all in the power of Hashem. Although the interpretations
are not always given immediately, they will, if Hashem
sees fit, eventually be revealed. So, too, the life of Yosef,
and our lives as well, all have purposes, even though
sometimes they are not revealed to us until a later time in
our lives. We must trust Hashem that He will help us in all
that we do, and that while fulfilling our mission we will have
a life of Simcha, health, and Torah.

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