"Please listen to this dream..." (Gen. 37:6)

He had to add the word 'please', because at first they had refused to listen.

Alternatively, in accordance with the Talmud, (Berachot 56) dreams should preferably be interpreted on the day following the night they have been dreamt. This is the reason that one may fast even on the Shabbat if one has had a bad dream. Joseph therefore insisted that the brothers hear him out at once. Any delay might result in the dream not being fulfilled.

Any delay might result in the dream not being fulfilled.

He may also have wanted to prove to them that he had not told any of his friends about this dream expecting them to give him a positive interpretation, but had instead come to his brothers first. Had he first told his friends of his dream, the brothers would not have believed that he wanted to convince them that he wanted to be on good terms with them. However, when contradictory interpretations are received the more recent interpretation cannot cancel out a previous one. Joseph may have wanted to convince the brothers of his sincerity by offering them a chance to come up with a negative interpretation of his dream which his friends could not later nullify. He did this by urging them to listen to his dream immediately.

"This dream": the use of the definite article 'hei' in front of the word 'chalom/dream' indicates that he had already told them that he had had a dream without revealing any details about it. Now he repeated: "please listen to the dream which I have dreamed."

"'We [each] had a dream…and there is no one to interpret it.' 'Interpretations are G‑d's business,' replied Joseph, 'please tell me [your dreams]'" (Gen. 40:8)

They meant that there was no one to interpret it at all, as distinct from Pharaoh's dream (Ibid. 41:8) when a variety of interpretations were offered, none of which satisfied Pharaoh.

"Interpretations are G‑d's business." This was Joseph's way of saying that although he offered his services as an interpreter they should not think that he claimed to boast about his ability, but that G‑d had many interpreters at His disposal; he, Joseph, was only one of them. He invited them to tell him their dreams.

An interpretation can only claim to be accurate when it is given on the day after the night the dream has occurred; Joseph's use of the word please, meant that he urged the ministers to tell him their dreams at once before the interpretations would become useless to them.

Joseph was anxious that they should tell their dreams to him rather than to someone else...

The second reason Joseph said please, is also related to a statement in the Talmud. (the next folio, Berachot 55) We are told there that most dreams follow the mouth, i.e. the interpreter. This is why Joseph was anxious that they should tell their dreams to him rather than to someone else in order that his interpretation would be fulfilled. And so, he emphasized: "please tell now!"

On that same page it is related that Rabbi Banah had a dream, and went separately to each of the twenty four regular dream-interpreters in Jerusalem. Each offered a different interpretation, and all their interpretations happened to come true. I maintain that this was so only because none of the twenty four interpretations contradicted one another. If, for instance, the first interpreter would say that the prisoner would be released whereas the second interpreter would say that the prisoner would remain in jail until dead, only the first interpretation would be fulfilled. Joseph urged them to make him the first interpreter of their dreams for their sakes.

[Selected with permission from the five-volume English edition of "Ohr HaChaim: the Torah Commentary of Rabbi Chaim Ben Attar" by Eliyahu Munk.]