and eleven stars bowed down to me” (Genesis 37:9), and at that time his mother was no longer alive. According to the interpretation of the dream, the moon symbolizes Joseph’s mother. Even this dream that was ultimately fulfilled contained an element that was not fulfilled.
From the same source, Rabbi Levi said: One should always anticipate fulfillment of a good dream up to twenty-two years after the dream. From where do we derive this? From Joseph, as it is written in the story of Joseph’s dream: “These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren” (Genesis 37:2); and it is written: “And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh King of Egypt” (Genesis 41:46). From seventeen to thirty how many years are they? Thirteen; and add seven years of plenty and two of famine; the total is twenty-two and only then was the dream fulfilled when his brothers came and bowed down to him.
Rav Huna said: A good person is not shown a good dream and a wicked person is not shown a bad dream; rather, a good person is punished for his relatively few transgressions with bad dreams and a wicked person is rewarded for his relatively few merits with good dreams.
That was also taught in a baraita: All of King David’s life he never saw a good dream, and all of Ahitophel’s life he never saw a bad dream.
The Gemara raises a difficulty: Is it not written: “No evil shall befall you, neither shall any plague come near your tent” (Psalms 91:10)? And Rav Ḥisda said that Rav Yirmeya bar Abba said in explanation of that verse: This means that you will be frightened neither by bad dreams nor by evil thoughts. Neither shall any plague come near your tent, means that you will never find your wife with the uncertain status of a menstruating woman when you return from a journey. This proves that it is impossible that a righteous person will experience bad dreams throughout his life. Rather, one might say that he does not see bad dreams; others see bad dreams about him.
The Gemara asks: And when he does not see a dream, is that a virtue? Didn’t Rabbi Zeira say: Anyone who sleeps seven days without a dream is called evil, as it indicates that God does not wish to appear to him even in that indirect manner. Allusion to this is, as it is stated: “And he that has it shall lie satisfied [vesave’a], he shall not be visited with evil” (Proverbs 19:23). The Sages said: Do not read it as satisfied [vesave’a], rather read it as seven [vesheva], which is an allusion to the fact that one who sleeps seven times and does not experience a dream is considered evil. Rather, one must say that David saw dreams and the baraita says as follows: David certainly saw dreams, but he did not understand what he saw.
Rav Huna bar Ami said that Rabbi Pedat said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: One who sees a dream from which his soul is distraught, should go and have it interpreted before three. The Gemara is surprised by this: Interpreted? Didn’t Rav Ḥisda say: A dream not interpreted is like a letter not read? If one is concerned about a dream, why would he actively promote its fulfillment? Rather, say as follows: He should better it before three. He should bring three people and say to them: I saw a good dream. And they should say to him: It is good, and let it be good, may God make it good. May they decree upon you from heaven seven times that it will be good, and it will be good. Afterwards they recite three verses of transformation from bad to good, three verses of redemption, and three verses which mention peace.
The Gemara elaborates: Three transformations:
“You transformed my mourning into dancing;
You loosed my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness” (Psalms 30:12);
“Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old together;
for I will transform their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow” (Jeremiah 31:12);
and: “Nevertheless the Lord your God would not hearken unto Balaam;
but the Lord your God transformed the curse into a blessing unto you” (Deuteronomy 23:6).
And three redemptions, as it is written:
“He has redeemed my soul in peace so that none came near me; for they were many that strove with me” (Psalms 55:19);
“The redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isaiah 35:10);
and: “The people said to Saul: Shall Jonathan die, who has wrought this great salvation in Israel?
So the people rescued Jonathan, that he died not” (I Samuel 14:45).
And three mentions of peace, as it is written:
“Peace, peace, to him that is far off and to him that is near, says the Lord that creates the expression of the lips; and I will heal him” (Isaiah 57:19);
“Then the spirit clothed Amasai, who was chief of the captains: Yours are we, David, and on your side, you son of Yishai;
peace, peace be unto you, and peace be to your helpers” (I Chronicles 12:19);
and: “Thus you shall say: All hail and peace be both unto you,
and peace be to your house, and peace be unto all that you have” (I Samuel 25:6).
The Gemara relates: Ameimar and Mar Zutra and Rav Ashi were sitting together. They said: Let each and every one of us say something that the other has not heard. 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:
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.
Another began and said: One who enters a city and fears the evil eye should hold the thumb [zekafa] of his right hand in his left hand and the thumb of his left hand in his right hand and recite the following: I, so-and-so son of so-and-so, come from the descendants of Joseph, over whom the evil eye has no dominion, as it is stated: “Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine by a fountain [alei ayin]; its branches run over the wall” (Genesis 49:22). Do not read it as alei ayin; but rather, read it as olei ayin, who rise above the eye and the evil eye has no dominion over him. Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, said: Derive it from here, from what is stated in Jacob’s blessing of Joseph’s sons: “And let them grow like fish into a multitude in the midst of the earth” (Genesis 48:16): Just as fish in the sea are covered by water and the evil eye has no dominion over them as they cannot be seen, so too the offspring of Joseph, the evil eye has no dominion over them. And if he is concerned about his own evil eye, lest it damage others, he should look at the side of his left nostril.
Another began and said: One who is sick should not reveal it on the first day of his illness so that his luck should not suffer; from there on he may reveal it. Like that which Rava does when he falls ill; on the first day he does not reveal it, from there on he says to his servant: Go out and announce: Rava is sick. Those who love me will pray that God have mercy on me and those who hate me will rejoice over my distress. And it is written: “Rejoice not when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles; lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him” (Proverbs 24:17–18). The joy of my enemy over my distress will also assist my healing.
The Gemara relates: Shmuel, when he would see a bad dream, would say: “And the dreams speak falsely” (Zechariah 10:2). When he would see a good dream, he would say: And do dreams speak falsely? Isn’t it written: “I speak with him in a dream” (Numbers 12:6)?
Rava raised a contradiction between these verses: On the one hand, it is written: “I speak with him in a dream”; and on the other hand, it is written: “And the dreams speak falsely.” The Gemara resolves this contradiction: This is not difficult because there are two types of dreams. Here, the verse, “I speak with him in a dream,” refers to dreams that come by means of an angel; here, the verse, “And the dreams speak falsely,” refers to dreams that come by means of a demon.
In a long chain of those transmitting this statement, it is said that Rabbi Bizna bar Zavda said that Rabbi Akiva said that Rabbi Panda said that Rav Naḥum said that Rabbi Birayim said in the name of one elder, and who is he, Rabbi Bena’a: There were twenty-four interpreters of dreams in Jerusalem. One time, I dreamed a dream and went to each of them to interpret it. What one interpreted for me the other did not interpret for me, and, nevertheless, all of the interpretations were realized in me, to fulfill that which is stated: All dreams follow the mouth of the interpreter.
The Gemara asks: Is that to say that all dreams follow the mouth is a verse cited as corroboration? The Gemara responds: Yes, and in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Elazar, as Rabbi Elazar said: From where is it derived that all dreams follow the mouth of the interpreter? As it is stated in the story of the dreams of Pharaoh’s two ministers. The butler said to Pharaoh: “And it came to pass, as he interpreted to us, so it was” (Genesis 41:13). Rava said, one must attach a caveat to this: This is only in a case where it is interpreted for him in a manner akin to the dream, where the interpretation is relevant to the dream, as it is stated in the story of Joseph’s interpretation of the dreams of Pharaoh’s two ministers: “Each man according to his dream he did interpret” (Genesis 41:12).
With regard to Joseph’s interpretation of these dreams, the Gemara asks, it is written: “The baker saw that the interpretation was good” (Genesis 40:16); from where did the baker know that the interpretation was good? Rabbi Elazar said: This teaches that each of them was shown his dream and the interpretation of the other’s dream. That is how he knew that it was the correct interpretation.
With regard to the veracity of dreams, Rabbi Yoḥanan said: One who awakened in the morning and a specific verse happens into his mouth, it is a minor prophecy and an indication that the content of the verse will be fulfilled.
Rabbi Yoḥanan also said: Three dreams are fulfilled: A dream of the morning, a dream that one’s fellow dreamed about him, and a dream that is interpreted within a dream. And some say that a dream that is repeated several times is also fulfilled, as it is stated: “And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice, it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass” (Genesis 41:32).
Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said that Rabbi Yonatan said: A person is shown in his dream only the thoughts of his heart when he was awake, as evidenced by what Daniel said to Nebuchadnezzar, as it is stated: “As for you, O king, your thoughts came upon your bed, what should come to pass hereafter” (Daniel 2:29). And if you wish, say instead that it is derived from here, a related verse: “And that you may know the thoughts of your heart” (Daniel 2:30). How will you know the thoughts of your heart? By their being revealed to you in a dream. Rava said: Know that this is the case, for one is neither shown a golden palm tree nor an elephant going through the eye of a needle in a dream. In other words, dreams only contain images that enter a person’s mind.