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Obscure Halacha

Sweet Dreams

Have you ever woken up from a wacky, psychedelic dream and entered a state of utter shock and confusion? Maybe your dream consisted of James Corden confessing his unrequited love for you, a dramatic chase scene through the rainforest, or your little sister founding the latest start-up company. Whatever it may be, you’re feeling out of place, unsure of what to do. Where do you turn?  Well, while it’s not exactly halacha, our rabbis have a solution and you may have even seen it in the siddur during Birkat Kohanim! Let’s investigate. 

The Gemara in Berachot 55b:11 shares a story:

אמימר ומר זוטרא ורב אשי הוו יתבי בהדי הדדי. . . פתח חד מינייהו ואמר: האי מאן דחזא חלמא ולא ידע מאי חזא, ליקום קמי כהני בעידנא דפרסי ידייהו ולימא הכי: ג 

Ameimar and Mar Zutra and Rav Ashi were sitting together. . . One of them began and said: One who saw a dream and does not know what he saw should stand before the priests when they lift their hands during the Priestly Blessing and say the following:

״רבונו של עולם, אני שלך וחלומותי שלך, חלום חלמתי ואיני יודע מה הוא. בין שחלמתי אני לעצמי ובין שחלמו לי חבירי ובין שחלמתי על אחרים, אם טובים הם — חזקם ואמצם כחלומותיו של יוסף. ואם צריכים רפואה — רפאם כמי מרה על ידי משה רבינו, וכמרים מצרעתה, וכחזקיה מחליו, וכמי ירִיחו על ידי אלישע. וכשם שהפכת קללת בלעם הרשע לברכה, כן הפוך כל חלומותי עלי לטובה״. ומסיים בהדי כהני דעני צבורא ״אמן״. ואי לא, לימא הכי: ״אדיר במרום, שוכן בגבורה, אתה שלום ושמך שלום. יהי רצון מלפניך שתשים עלינו שלום״

Master of the Universe, I am Yours and my dreams are Yours, I dreamed a dream and I do not know what it is. Whether I have dreamed of myself, whether my friends have dreamed of me or whether I have dreamed of others, if the dreams are good, strengthen them and reinforce them like the dreams of Joseph. And if the dreams require healing, heal them like the bitter waters of Mara by Moses our teacher, and like Miriam from her leprosy, and like Hezekiah from his illness, and like the bitter waters of Jericho by Elisha. And just as You transformed the curse of Balaam the wicked into a blessing, so transform all of my dreams for me for the best. And he should complete his prayer together with the priests so the congregation responds amen both to the blessing of the priests and to his individual request. And if he is not able to recite this entire formula, he should say: Majestic One on high, Who dwells in power, You are peace and Your name is peace. May it be Your will that You bestow upon us peace.

Well, there you have it, folks. Next time your alarm interrupts a strange dream, leaving you disoriented and bewildered, there’s a special bracha just for that very situation. Happy dreaming!

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