INSIGHTS INTO THE DAILY DAF
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
QUESTION: The Gemara relates the interpretations that Bar Hedya gave for the dreams of Rava and Abaye. Bar Hedya interpreted all of Rava's dreams unfavorably, and Rava suffered considerably as a result. When Rava caught a chance glimpse of Bar Hedya's dream-interpretation handbook, he suddenly realized that the interpretation given for a dream determines the dream's meaning and outcome.
Did Rava not realize this even before he saw what was written in the handbook? According to the Gemara earlier (55b), the Torah clearly teaches that dreams follow their interpretations, as it says, "As he (Yosef) interpreted for us, so it was"!
ANSWER: Rava knew that interpretations affect a dream, but he thought that since the interpretation must be based on the dream (as he himself states on 55b), it would be impossible to interpret one dream in two opposite ways and have both interpretations come true. The dreams Rava brought to Bar Hedya were identical to the dreams that Abaye brought to him; Rava received unfavorable interpretations, while Abaye received favorable ones. When Rava saw that Bar Hedya's manual stated, "All dreams follow their interpretation," he realized that it was indeed possible to interpret one dream in two opposite ways, and for both ways to come true. (M. KORNFELD, based on SHLEIMAH MISHNASO)
QUESTION: The Gemara says that one who sees a river, bird, or kettle in a dream can anticipate peace. Why are these three objects symbols of peace?
ANSWER: These are three symbols of peace because they represent three possible levels of human peaceful relationships.
(a) Peace in its lowest form means the absence of conflict. The symbol for this type of peace is a river. A river is the classic vehicle of commerce between two cities. It represents a state of communication which exists between two separate entities connected only by their mutual benefit.
(b) The second degree of peace exists where two people or groups of people join together to reach a common goal which neither would be able to achieve alone. This type of peace is symbolized by a kettle. A kettle is designed to prepare food by combining the forces of water and fire. Water alone would drench the food; fire alone would burn it. Through the mediatory effect of the kettle, an environment conducive for cooking is created. The kettle thus creates a productive peace between fire and water.
(c) The third and highest level of peace is the peace of the bird. A bird has two disparate talents: the ability to survive on earth and the ability to fly in the air. These talents are not independent skills that are unrelated to each other. Rather, they work together in a single organism that lives in these two realms. A bird embodies a peace where two natures and two entities have merged into one unit. (See more in "The River, the Kettle, and the Bird," by Rav Aharon Feldman, shlit'a, distributed by Feldheim Publishers, Jerusalem, 1987.)
QUESTION: The Gemara says that the only one who is shown pumpkins in a dream is one who fears Hash-m with all of his strength. What is the connection between pumpkins and the fear of Hash-m?
(a) RASHI (DH Kara) explains that the word for pumpkins, "Delu'in," can be read, "Dalu Ayin" (or "lift the eyes"), which is reminiscent of the verse, "My eyes lifted (Dalu) unto the heavens" (Yeshayah 38:14). This verse alludes to the fear of Hash-m.
(b) RAV NISIM GA'ON explains that although pumpkins are of the largest vegetables, they never raise themselves off the ground. As large as they become, they remain sitting on the ground. This is a fitting metaphor for a G-d-fearing person. There is no person greater than the one who is G-d-fearing, but at the same time, he is the most humble of all (as the Gemara describes in Chulin 89a).