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What Do Dreams Mean?

What Do Dreams Mean?

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Question:

I had a dream last night in which I saw my late father. He held my hands and mouthed some words. It was so vivid that I was sure it was real. Does this mean anything? Should I be worried?

Answer:

Dreams are a display of what our mind sees when we don’t control it. They can be caused by many different factors. How we should react to a dream will be determined by the type of dream we experienced.

Some dreams are the result of external stimuli (if you sleep with a fan blowing on your face, you may dream of flying a helicopter), or biological causes (if you go to bed thirsty, you may dream of yourself hiking through a parched desert searching for water). These dreams are not terribly significant. The message may simply be to take a drink of water, or move the fan away from your head.

Other dreams are the continuation of the thoughts of the day (a problem we ponder during the day can sometimes be solved in a dream at night), or an expression of unwanted thoughts—issues that are bothering us and we are trying not to think about pop up in our dreams (we often dream of our darkest secrets being revealed, or our deepest phobias being faced). These dreams are a window into our subconscious, a peek into the thoughts with which our mind is occupied when it is allowed to run loose. They should not be seen as portents of what lies in the future, but rather exposés of what lurks in our mind.

But then there is another type of dream, a dream that seems to border on the prophetic. Unlike the confused and nonsensical dreams we typically see, these are characterized by the vividness you describe in your dream of your father. While most dreams are better ignored, these cannot be dismissed as ramblings of the idle mind; they are too powerful, too awesome to just forget.

The Kabbalists explain that while we sleep, our souls leave our bodies and ascend to their heavenly source to replenish their energy. While a residue of the soul remains with the body to keep it alive, the main portion of the soul travels to higher places. In this disembodied state, the soul is free to experience visions and encounters that are usually off-limits to beings of this world. This includes the possibility of meeting other disembodied souls—particularly the souls of loved ones who have passed away. It is their opportunity to convey a message to those they have left behind.

It is possible that your dream comes under this last category. How you should respond to it depends on the mood of the dream. Did your father seem disturbed or troubled in any way? Did you wake up feeling uncomfortable or sad? Then perhaps he needs something from you. Was he mourned appropriately? Have memorial prayers (Kaddish and Yizkor) been said for him? Is his grave attended to, and the anniversary of his passing (yahrzeit) observed? If not, he may be coming to you, his daughter, to ask you to rectify these things, to ensure that his memory is honored and his soul given the assistance it needs to find rest.

On the other hand, his demeanor in the dream may have been one of peace and contentment. Did you wake up feeling comfort and warmth? If so, then he is just paying you a visit. He came to say hello, to express his love and support for you, and to remind you that he is there for you, proud of you, and will always be your father.

There is no cause for worry. Your father has given you either a mission, or a gift.

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
Image by chassidic artist Shoshannah Brombacher. To view or purchase Ms. Brombacher’s art, click here.
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Anonymous Long Island August 1, 2017

I had a dream of my mother that has passed away. That I'm visiting her in a nursing home but a day later the nurse calls to tell me she died of pneumonia. They tried to revive her by taking her under water so her lungs can start working
But it didnt work. So she passed away. I was so disturbed What does that mean ????? Reply

Stephanie McIntyre La Vista July 23, 2017

Had a dream I was on a boat and wirh young kids and someone locked us in and boarded up the glass in the back. I got up front and was trying to save everyone there went from one in the lake tp the other and got all the boys put and myself and when the boat should Of blew up it didnt but there was someone out there and I swam out got him out of the way and instead the clubhpuse behind me blew up but luckily noone was in there Reply

Mckenzie Fresno July 20, 2017

In April I lost a close friend who was 16 years old and his brother who is 17 had got locked up the day his brother was shot , last night I had a dream that he had got out but he looked the same like it is soon that he's getting out , it felt so real and we were all together with the people we're usually with and we were in a house that I had never seen I remember in the dream me and him were talking pictures in a big mirror and I remember seeing the color white the most , his girlfriend , his aunt , and his grandpa also have had dreams of him getting out to Reply

Anonymous June 2, 2017

Dream interpretation Someone keeps constantly coming in my dreams. Sometimes,I feel like that we are having conversations in real. Whenever the person comes,his expressions seem that he is fond of me. But in reality, we don't contact each other. Can anyone tell me, what does it mean? Reply

Anonymous October 31, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

a relative is talking Reply

Anonymous south africa May 7, 2017

What is the meaning off the answer I get in my dream to move but don't know where jet.And then I gave some strangers flower seeds to plant so long.and then I see this ccolourfull flowers in my dream Reply

Jayaira Muriel Windfield Netherlands May 7, 2017

I had a dream that my dead uncle appear in my dream and blew in a bag. Reply

Ann Higginbotham Phenix City May 6, 2017

Please help me..my mom passed 2yrs ago.. This mornin i had a dream while i was sleeping that my daughter was in the hospital and my mom was alive in my dream she was holding my daughters hand when she passed away..my mom was the one who told all the family that my daughter had passed away..please tell me what that dream means please Reply

Zoe March 23, 2017

Invisible Sometimes when I dream it feels as though I'm not actually in them. Like if I was in a room with people and they were talking, I would basically be invisible. I'll either stand around, or walk around the commotion without being bothered by anything. This also happens when I have a nightmare, usually if I'm having a nightmare like this I don't even get scared are frightened I just feel nothing. Reply

Alexander 14456 February 6, 2017

The Dream of Falling Symbols I seldom recall dreams. I felt as though I was peering into space--total darkness and no sound. From the top right corner I see free falling, three-dimensional, dark gold/green colored blocks of indistinct symbols descending in one line, clustered like a school of fish. They floated downward spinning counterclockwise. Effortlessly. Slowly. Some symbols were viewed on a one dimensional plane rotating counterclockwise, while others spun on a z-axis. Never did the symbols spin clockwise or away from me (the viewer?), and all flowed
From top right corner down to the bottom middle field of view. Reply

Anonymous Somalila January 31, 2017

What do you want to be when you grow up I want to mangemant and to help poor people Reply

Anonymous Davao November 4, 2016

souls I had also a dream. In my dream I saw a cemetery in the middle of the sea I saw lots of souls coming out from the grave and all of them flying up into the heaven. And then I see myself arranging the graves. What does it mean? Reply

Anonymous August 4, 2016

what does it mean??? Last night I had a dream of an extremely big snake that I think was a cobra...I don't remember it doing anything harmful to me....all I remember about it is it falling out of a truck....fast forward a bit to a candle that will not extinguish no matter what I do...almost like a magic candle at a birthday party....I remember me dunking it in water and it going out for a while and then coming back Reply

Hardly a Beinoni Hollywood, Florida March 14, 2016

Dreams in Jewish Lore Records of dreams have been recorded as far back as Biblical times. To name a few: Genesis,28:12ff; 37:5ff; 40:5ff; 41:1ff; Daniel, 2:1ff; 4:1ff; 7:1ff. However, in Jewish tradition, their significance & interpretation, differs drastically from those of Freud & secular psychologists & psychiatrists. Our Sages, (Tractate Berachos, 55b), referring to Genesis, 41:13, point out that "...as Joseph interpreted, so it came to pass.."; namely, the outcome of the interpretation, 'followed the mouth'! This is a very significant lesson. For, if one has a dream which troubles him or her, & seeks an interpretation thereof, it should be related only to a GOOD friend. Namely, one who has the dreamer's interest at heart. For the latter will surely interpret it within the context of the dream, & consequently, favorably; R' Yehuda Hachasid (1150 - 1217), in "Sefer Chassidim" ('Book of the Pious'; paragraph 441). Reply

Ewan September 10, 2015

help with nigntmare Please help me - I am have a terrifying dream of being stuck in a mental institution and I am trapped - what does this mean ? Reply

Anonymous toronto August 4, 2015

dreams Dreams do not count as reality. One can have dreams through out life, but dreams are dreams and one should be a judge of reality . It is a mix of hallucinations , illusions and imaginations . Reality can awaken a person. Dreams can portend the future in some cases and judge past events . Reply

Dawn Copley Los Angeles July 23, 2015

All of my vivid dreams are either a message from G-d or are psychic/prophetic revelations always come true...100% of the time since I was a child and through out my life 'till this very day. Since I was a little girl and to this day all of my most vivid dreams would always come true 100% of the time. Very uncanny. When I awake I remember them and ponder.I always know which ones were messages or prophetic. The prophetic dreams always manifest within 24 hours after I awake. Throughout my entire life they have all been 100% accurate. One time recently I had a vivid dream that I was going to somehow accidently see the person in the dream. I was so positive that I dressed nicely because I was convinced it would come to fruition. I did nothing to influence it. It didn't matter where I was but I anxiously awaited for the dream to materialize. I was having lunch with a friend and excused myself for a minute and go do some quick business at the bank and suddenly out of nowhere as I was walking to the bank he was walking through the bank parking lot. We exchanged words, but I didn't tell him about my dream and I was anticipating our crossing paths. I don't always get them Reply

Gordon USA July 14, 2015

In my dream I was looking into the future, in Israel. There were several small farms close to each other, growing different types of foods. Unlike the presentday kibbutzim, there was no mechanical equiptment see, and everything was growing profusely, requiring very little labor. The people were all healthy looking and were free of sickness as they traded among each other. The fruit growers would trade for bread from the baking farm who would trade for veggies, fruit, and so on. Every so often the people would turn their eyes toward Jerusalem and smile, knowing their protector was there. Reply

Gordon July 9, 2015

In my dream I saw the earth from outer space and it was covered iin dark clouds, as if there had been a world war.I looked everywhere for some light but could not find any. suddenly I saw a faint glow and as I watched it got bigger and bigger until the clouds went away and I saw Israel. The light was now very bright and I saw a man standing in the bright opening and seemed to say to himself "I have a lot of work to do" end of dream. what does this mean? Gordon Reply

gideon usa April 8, 2015

In my dream I was sitting on a park bench in Netanya overlooking the Med. sea.It was a beautiful sunny clear day. Suddenly from the west came a dark cloud. It grew stronger and blacker by the minute coming toward Israel. The sky was black, and getting blacker. I was very scared. What does this dream mean? Will the west turn against Israel? Reply

Nathan April 5, 2015

my dad My dad was in my dream and he was telling me how proud of me he is and I have never had a dream about him since he passed. My Fiance and I are makuing a move to another state. What does this dream mean? Does it pertain to our move? Reply

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