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Parshat Mikeitz (5764)
This week's section deals with the release of Yosef from prison to become ruler of Egypt.
Interestingly, Yosef's life story is connected to eerie dreams.
First his own in the beginning of last week's section, then the enigmatic dreams of the two imprisoned ministers and, finally the disturbing dreams of Pharaoh himself. And in each case only Yosef was able to interpret them properly.
What are dreams? Why did G-d create such a weird thing? Couldn't we do without them? What is the connection between Yosef and dreams?
To understand this here is a story.
Reb Shimon Rabinovitz (fictitious name) was dejected. He walked aimlessly down the snow covered Moscow street, crumpled the letter into a ball and threw it into the first trash bin he passed. The year was 1967. Russia was little more than a huge prison for the millions of people living there - especially the Jews. The only way out was to request from the government and the exit door was very narrow and very rarely opened. This was Shimon's sixth rejection to leave the country in the last six years, and he wasn't getting any younger.
His hopes lifted a little last year when his brother got clearance to leave. But now they were dashed and he was about to give up.
That night he went to sleep and...Behold! A dream!!
An elderly man held out an official-looking piece of paper to him and said, "With this you will leave Russia and go to the land of Israel." Whereupon he gave him the document, turned around and walked away.
Shimon woke up that morning with a strange feeling of self-confidence (which was an unusual thing in Communist Russia). At first he couldn't figure it out, but then he remembered the dream. It was so clear, as though it really happened.
He usually wasn't one to put stock in such things. Dreams are notoriously false and foolish, but for some unexplainable reason he felt that this was different.
He made up his mind to do it!
The very next day he returned to the visa office and again applied for permission to leave. At first the official wanted to have him ejected. "What? You again? Why...you just got rejected yesterday. What...are you crazy or something? Maybe come back next year."
But Shimon paid no attention. That dream turned him around. It was as though the world was suddenly some sort of distant movie that had no real importance. The world was the dream!! He was sure that this time he would leave Russia.
He filled out the papers and handed them in as the official just stood there shaking his head in pity.
Shimon actually believed that in a month or so he would be receiving that phone call from the ministry of travel telling him to come get his papers. But he was in for a surprise.
Three days later there was a knock on Shimon's door. He opened up and there was a government official! Normally he would have fainted from fear - officials never bear good tidings.
"Mister Rabinovitz?" He asked formally. Shimon apprehensively looked to see if there were policemen standing behind him coming to arrest him. "Is your name Rabinovitz?" the official asked again.
"Yes" Shimon answered.
"Good. Just sign here!" he said as he produced a receipt. Shimon signed, the official handed him a closed envelope, turned on his heels and walked away.
Shimon closed the door and excitedly opened the letter. It was an official document and it said....
He was free! He could go the land of Israel! He got permission to leave Russia. And, miracle of miracles they brought it to his house!! He never heard of that happening to anyone!
It took Shimon some time to sell everything and organize money for his move. But two months later he boarded the plane for Israel and hours thereafter he was met by his brother in Lod airport in Israel. They hugged, danced and wept from sheer joy.
"It was the Rebbe that got you out!" His brother exclaimed. "Like Moses took us from Egypt! It was the Rebbe."
On their way to his house his brother explained. About two months ago he called the Rebbe's headquarters in Brooklyn and requested a blessing for him to get out of Russia. Oh that same day the Rebbe's secretary called him back and said the Rebbe answered that for sure there would be good news and he would soon be joined by his brother in Israel.
It must have been the Rebbe's blessing that did it. It's the only way to explain his wondrous release!
But when they entered his brother's house, Shimon stood frozen like a statue. There before them on the wall was a picture of the Rebbe. His brother realized that it was probably because he had never seen a picture of the Rebbe before (in Russia it was impossible to smuggle in a picture of a non-Communist leader).
"It's the Rebbe." He explained. "You probably guessed."
But Shimon was in a different world.
"It's him!" he whispered.
"What do you mean?" His brother asked.
He told his brother about his dream and finished "He was the one that gave me the letter in the dream!"
Sure enough when his brother checked the date he had received the Rebbe's answer he saw it was the day before the dream!
The Rebbe not only opened the gates for Shimon. He also opened his eyes and led him out.
That is the purpose of dreams...they contain opposites. In a dream, things that are insanely paradoxical seem right and natural.
That is why King David likens the Jews in the exile (we have been living in for over two thousand years) as dreamers (Psalms 126:1).
During the exile Jews lose their identity and the result is a dreamlike tragic confusion. Nowhere can it better be seen than in Israel today. The leaders are followers, the schools encourage immorality, the 'Jewish' state despises Judaism while Arab murderers are justified. The country runs PURELY on Divine miracles and the government doesn't believe in G-d.
But there is also a very positive side to dreams. Because all paradoxes exist together, even the worst sinners can, in a flash, become totally transformed. The weak can suddenly become strong, the ugly beautiful and even death can become transformed to life!!
And that is the message of all these dreams and Yosef.
Yosef was the forerunner of redemption. He, one lone Jew, transformed the entire world's population, including decadent Egypt, to be subservient to the Creator. He changed confusion and famine into joy and plenty.
But it was all a preparation for the dreamlike exile we are now in. Yosef gave the power to all the Tzadikim, as the above story shows, to convert the confusion into redemption - and it can occur in one flash!
That is what the Lubavitcher Rebbe said time and time again. The Redemption is here! We must only open our eyes; think, speak and do only positive things and we will see that we have powers of good we never dreamed of.
As the Jewish saying goes "If you want your dreams to come true...you have to wake up!"
And see... Moshiach NOW!!
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