Q & A - WITH RABBI RISKIN
Do dreams have any significance, or are they meaningless?
The subject of dreams occupies an important place in Judaism, from the dreams of Yaakov, Yosef and Paro as described in Sefer Bereishit to the ninth chapter of the Gemara's massekhet Berakhot, which accords great importance to dreams.
According to our Sages, a dream is the result of what goes on in a person's mind, and sometimes his subconscious thoughts may hide within them hints concerning the future. It is interesting to note that both Shakespeare and Freud believed that the interpretation of dreams was an important means of understanding a person's character.
There is a concept of a "fast for a dream" (ta'anit halom), in other words, an individual who has dreamed something unpleasant or disturbing may undertake to fast as part of a process of teshuvah and his request for Divine atonement. In any event a Rav should be consulted for any question related to dreams.
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