Sedra of the Week: Vayeishev

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Sedra of the Week: Vayeishev

This week's Torah portion is delivered by Rabbi Naftali Schiff of the Jewish Futures Trust

‘Behold the master of dreams is coming!’ Joseph’s brothers derided their younger sibling for his fantastical delusions of greatness and leadership. However, whether we recall them or not, the virtual reality simulation we experience can often be an expression of our hopes, dreams and aspirations, with a fair amount of absurdity mixed in.

Chalom, the Hebrew word for dream, is made up of three root letters, chet, lamed and mem, which, when rearranged, provide us with concealed insights that teach us how to maximise their power. Dreams are often aspirational, but to realise them we need to fix our sights on the goal and then fight to overcome all the obstacles that stand in our way. The letters of chalom can therefore be rearranged as lochem, to fight.

While our natural instinct might be to push out of the way people who prevent us achieving our dreams, one who is confident in the power and truth of their vision ought to rearrange the letters again to be mochel, to forgive others, and move on.

The way to achieve our dreams is to discover what we are willing to let go of, for the sake of achieving our greater dream. The greatest Jewish visionary of all time, Abraham, is told “Lech Lecha”, to let go of the baggage of your past to build a brighter future for the whole world.

The Jewish nation is one of dreamers, as we sing every week, at the end of history, when our destiny has been fulfilled, we will be hayinu kecholmim, as dreamers, people who have fought for their beliefs and let go of the things that are of lesser importance, to invest in the visions of a magnificent future.

  • Rabbi Naftali Schiff is CEO of Jewish Futures Trust
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