“And he woke up and behold it was a dream” Genesis 41:7


Pharaoh wakes up, bewildered by enigmatic dreams of cows and sheaves of corn. Determined to find a meaningful interpretation, he stops at nothing, even bringing the Israelite slave Joseph out of prison.

This same phrase is used in one other place in the Bible. King Solomon wakes up from a sublime dream. God entitled him to any request he desired. He asked to be granted an understanding heart to judge the people fairly.God responded that considering he asked for something so altruistic, He would also grant him plenty in every area of life.

The description of Pharaoh and Solomon’s abrupt awakening conveys how vivid their dreams felt. It was only when they awoke that they realised it was just a dream.

As powerful rulers of successful countries, they both realised the gravitas of their respective dreams.

Could Pharaoh find no compelling interpretation from his own advisers and sorcerers? The Midrash contends that they interpreted the seven cows as the seven daughters that he would father and then sadly bury.

Why did Pharaoh not accept this explanation? It was clear to him that, as Pharaoh, a dream would not come to him with solely personal connotations. It must have national significance.

In the same vein, Solomon recognised the weight of governance, and did not even consider making a personal request. These similarities remind us that a true leader puts their mission above their own privileges.

The haftarah for Parashat Mikketz (when it does not fall on Chanukah) does not include Solomon’s dream. It begins with: “And Solomon awoke and behold it was a dream”. By focusing on the story that followed, which shows how Solomon judged with a wise heart, we are reminded that without implementing goals and dreams, they are useless.

So too with Pharaoh: the focus is not on the dreams themselves, but rather on their implementation. The dreams are the trigger to a strategy which once implemented will change the trajectory of Jewish history and save a civilisation. Dreams form the wings that empower us to soar high in this world. But dreams alone will achieve nothing without implementation.



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