Community Rabbis Ask

Meaning of Dreams



I received this question from a member of my community here in Argentina. I don't know what to answer this lengthy question. I would appreciate if you could advise me how to reply. -- Dvir

My father-in-law passed away this year on Rosh Chodesh Adar. Last Friday I had a dream about him. It was some time between six and seven in the morning. We didn't have a close connection; in fact we were not on speaking terms due to some marital problems we were having which have since been resolved, but we hadn't reconciled before his death. Afterwards, we did whatever we could l'ilui nishmato, for the sake of his soul in the next world.

My dream was as follows: I am standing at the entrance to a school and I see my father-in-law on the inside of the wall sitting and listening very carefully to what I'm saying to a boy. The boy said something chutzpadik and I told him that we don't speak that way. Next I see myself entering a large room and my  father-in-law is sitting at the head of the table as usual. On the right side of the table was another old table of theirs, oval and covered by a tablecloth. As I approached him, I saw that he looked good, if a little shorter than I remembered him, and and I rejoiced in seeing him looking so well.  He was sitting calmly in a chair and he asked me to put a pile of letters into envelopes and to mail them for him to all different places. The envelopes were on the other side of the table. I looked at the clock in the dream and it was almost eight o'clock in the morning. We needed to go and do some errands but I said to myself that I could go another time. I looked at one of the letters that was alread in an envelope and it was addressed to the city hall. Suddenly I looked at all the letters; they were folded into quarters. I looked at one of them and I saw that it seemed to be addressed to a school. I opened it up and there was a drawing inside of a lit menorah. I think seven out of 8 were lit. Then my dream ended. What is the meaning of this dream?

Thank you,


Dear Dvir,

Please forgive the delay in my reply.

Below is a draft of a possible reply to your congregant's question.
I can't say for certain, but according to my understanding, when a person who has passed away appears in a dream and he looks well, this is a good sign. The fact that your father-in-law appeared looking healthy  and well, and that you were happy to see him looking so well, it is possible that he was trying to hint to you that he was in a good place, thank G-d.

Perhaps the reason he appeared specifically to you might be due to all the effort you made for the elevation of his soul, as you wrote.
These experiences are real things that emanate from the deepest part of the soul; and even though in the dream they are expressed through different drawings that are not real now, but the feelings and the emotional connection that it awakened in you is certainly genuine.
It is correct for you to feel that the dream is true, and you should try to remember the experience, and you should be happy that your father-in-law seemed happy wherever he is, and he is happy about all you did for the elevation of his soul.

As far as the rest of the details are concerned, it's hard to say exactly what their message is, and although it is well know that most dreams contain a certain amount of nonsense (See Brachot 55). But maybe he is asking you to do something for him, according to the accepted custom, that when a parent or grandparent leaves descendants here in this world that are doing good deeds, all of these are registered as merits for the parent or grandparent, and he receives the benefits of it in the higher world.

Regarding the lit menorah, the menorah is a symbol for wisdom, and how all wisdom is connected to Torah; and so all the Torah that was learned for the elevation of his soul [or even something simple like lighting a candle for his soul] is considered through you -- his family and descendants -- as a big merit for the good of his soul.

All the best,