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Berachos 56


QUESTION: The Gemara tells a story about Bar Hedya's interpretations of the dreams of Rava and Abaye. When Rava caught a chance glance of Bar Hedya's dream-interpreter's handbook, he suddenly realized that the interpreter of a dream may decides a dream's meaning.

Why didn't Rava realize this earlier? According to the Gemara earlier (55b) the Torah states this openly (in the story of Yosef and the dreams), by saying "As Yosef interpreted for them, so came about!"

ANSWER: Rav knew that interpretations affect a dream, but he thought that since the interpretation must be based on the dream (as he himself stated on 55b), it would be impossible to interpret one dream in *opposite* ways and have both of them come true. When he 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 opposing ways, and that Bar Hedya was in fact the cause of his anguish. (M. Kornfeld, based on SHELEMAH MISHNASO)


QUESTION: 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, or peace in a purely negative sense. 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 or people join together to reach a common goal which neither alone would be able to achieve. This type of peace is symbolized by a kettle. A kettle is designed to prepare food by utilizing the combined talents of water and fire. Water alone would ruin the food through soaking; fire alone would burn it. But through the mediatory effect of the kettle, an environment proper for cooking is created. The kettle has thus made possible a productive peace between fire and water..

(c) The third and final level of peace is the peace of the bird. A bird has two disparate talents: the ability to survive on earth as well as to fly in the heavens. These talents are not separate skills which exist side by side. Rather, they are details of a single organism which operates in these two realms. A bird, therefore, represents an embodiment of a peace where two natures and two entities have merged into one unit.

(Harav Aharon Feldman, Shlita, in "The River the Kettle and the Bird," distributed by Feldheim Publishers, 1987)

QUESTION: The Gemara says that the only person to whom pumpkins are shown in a dream is one who fears G-d with all of his strength. What is the connection between pumpkins and the fear of G-d?

(a) RASHI (DH Kara) explains that the word for pumpkins, "Delu'in," can be read, "Dalu Ayin" (or "lift the eyes"), reminiscent of the verse, "My eyes lifted (Dalu) unto the heavens," which alludes to the fear of G-d.

(b) RAV NISIM GA'ON explains that although pumpkins are the largest of vegetables, they never raise themselves off the ground. As large as they become, they remain sitting on the ground. This is an apt 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 Chulim 89).

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