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Ritual for Judging Bad Dreams for Good

Project Vortex. The Dimmitt Tornado. Photographer: Harald Richter, Credit: NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library; OAR/ERL/National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL), Public Domain.

Project Vortex. The Dimmitt Tornado. Photographer: Harald Richter, Credit: NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library; OAR/ERL/National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL), Public Domain.

From the Talmud Bavli, Tractate Berakhot 55b. Translation by Maurice Simon.


אמר רב הונא בר אמי אמר ר’ פדת א”ר יוחנן

Rav Huna bar Ammi said in the name of Rav Pedath who had it from Rebi Yoḥanan:


הרואה חלום ונפשו עגומה ילך ויפתרנו בפני שלשה יפתרנו
והאמר רב חסדא חלמא דלא מפשר כאגרתא דלא מקריא
אלא אימא יטיבנו בפני שלשה

If one has a dream which makes him sad he should go and have it interpreted in the presence of three.[1] He should have it interpreted!
Has not Rav Ḥisda said: A dream which is not interpreted is like a letter which is not read?
— Say rather then, he should have a good turn given to it in the presence of three.


ליתי תלתא ולימא להו

Let him bring three and say to them:


חלמא טבא חזאי ולימרו ליה הנך טבא הוא וטבא ליהוי
רחמנא לשוייה לטב שבע זימנין לגזרו עלך מן שמיא דלהוי טבא ויהוי טבא

I have seen a good dream; and they should say to him, Good it is and good may it be.
May the Compassionate One turn it to good; seven times may it be decreed from heaven that it should be good and may it be good.


ולימרו ג’ הפוכות
וג’ פדויות
ושלש שלומות

They should say three verses with the word hapakh [turn],
and three with the word padah [redeem]
and three with the word shalom [peace].


שלש הפוכות

Three with the word ‘turn’, namely,


‏הָפַ֣כְתָּ מִסְפְּדִי֮ לְמָחֹ֪ול לִ֥י פִּתַּ֥חְתָּ שַׂקִּ֑י וַֽתְּאַזְּרֵ֥נִי שִׂמְחָֽה׃ (תהלים ל, יב)‏
אָ֣ז תִּשְׂמַ֤ח בְּתוּלָה֙ בְּמָחֹ֔ול וּבַחֻרִ֥ים וּזְקֵנִ֖ים יַחְדָּ֑ו וְהָפַכְתִּ֨י אֶבְלָ֤ם לְשָׂשֹׂון֙ וְנִ֣חַמְתִּ֔ים וְשִׂמַּחְתִּ֖ים מִיגֹונָֽם׃ (ירמיהו לא, יג)‏
‏וְלֹֽא־אָבָ֞ה יְהוָ֤ה אֱלֹהֶ֙יךָ֙ לִשְׁמֹ֣עַ אֶל־בִּלְעָ֔ם וַיַּהֲפֹךְ֩ יְהוָ֨ה אֱלֹהֶ֧יךָ לְּךָ֛ אֶת־הַקְּלָלָ֖ה לִבְרָכָ֑ה כִּ֥י אֲהֵֽבְךָ֖ יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶֽיךָ׃ (דברים כג, ו)‏

You turned for me my mourning into dancing, You loosened my sackcloth and gird me with gladness;[2]
Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old together; for I will turn their mourning into joy and will comfort them and make them rejoice from their sorrow;[3]
Nevertheless HaShem your G!d would not listen to Balaam; but HaShem your G!d turned the curse into a blessing for you, because Hashem your G!d loved you.[4]


שלש פדויות דכתיב

Three verses with the word ‘redeem’, namely,


‏ פָּ֘דָ֤ה בְשָׁל֣וֹם נַ֭פְשִׁי מִקֲּרָב־לִ֑י כִּֽי־בְ֝רַבִּ֗ים הָי֥וּ עִמָּדִֽי׃ (תהלים נה, יט)‏
‎‎‏וּפְדוּיֵ֨י יְהוָ֜ה יְשֻׁב֗וּן וּבָ֤אוּ צִיּוֹן֙ בְּרִנָּ֔ה וְשִׂמְחַ֥ת עוֹלָ֖ם עַל־רֹאשָׁ֑ם שָׂשׂ֤וֹן וְשִׂמְחָה֙ יַשִּׂ֔יגוּ וְנָ֖סוּ יָג֥וֹן וַאֲנָחָֽה׃ (ישעיהו לה, י)‏
‏וַיֹּ֨אמֶר הָעָ֜ם אֶל־שָׁא֗וּל הֲ‍ֽיוֹנָתָ֤ן׀ יָמוּת֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָ֠שָׂה הַיְשׁוּעָ֨ה הַגְּדוֹלָ֣ה הַזֹּאת֮ בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל֒ חָלִ֗ילָה חַי־יְהוָה֙ אִם־יִפֹּ֞ל מִשַּׂעֲרַ֤ת רֹאשׁוֹ֙ אַ֔רְצָה כִּֽי־עִם־אֱלֹהִ֥ים עָשָׂ֖ה הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֑ה וַיִּפְדּ֥וּ הָעָ֛ם אֶת־יוֹנָתָ֖ן וְלֹא־מֵֽת׃ (שמואל א יד, מה)‏

He has redeemed my soul in peace, so that none came near me;[5]
And the redeemed of HaShem shall return and come with singing unto Zion, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; They shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away;[6]
And the people said to Shaul, ‘Shall Yonatan die, who has wrought this great salvation in Israel? Far from it; as HaShem lives, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground; for he has wrought with G!d this day.’ So the people rescued Yonatan, that he died not.[7]


שלש שלומות דכתיב

Three verses with the word ‘peace’, namely,


‏בּוֹרֵ֖א נוב [נִ֣יב] שְׂפָתָ֑יִם שָׁל֨וֹם׀ שָׁל֜וֹם לָרָח֧וֹק וְלַקָּר֛וֹב אָמַ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה וּרְפָאתִֽיו׃ (ישעיהו נז, יט)‏
‏וְר֣וּחַ לָבְשָׁ֗ה אֶת־עֲמָשַׂי֮ רֹ֣אשׁ השלושים [הַשָּׁלִישִׁים֒] לְךָ֤ דָוִיד֙ וְעִמְּךָ֣ בֶן־יִשַׁ֔י שָׁל֨וֹם׀ שָׁל֜וֹם לְךָ֗ וְשָׁלוֹם֙ לְעֹ֣זְרֶ֔ךָ כִּ֥י עֲזָרְךָ֖ אֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ וַיְקַבְּלֵ֣ם דָּוִ֔יד וַֽיִּתְּנֵ֖ם בְּרָאשֵׁ֥י הַגְּדֽוּד׃ (דברי הימים א יב, יט)‏
‏וַאֲמַרְתֶּ֥ם כֹּ֖ה לֶחָ֑י וְאַתָּ֤ה שָׁלוֹם֙ וּבֵיתְךָ֣ שָׁל֔וֹם וְכֹ֥ל אֲשֶׁר־לְךָ֖ שָׁלֽוֹם׃ (שמואל א כה, ו)‏

Peace, peace, to him that is far off and to him that is near, says HaShem that created the fruit of the lips; and I will heal him;[8]
Then the spirit clothed Amasai who was chief of the captains: Yours are we, David, and on your side, you son of Yishai: Peace, peace, be unto you and peace be to your helpers, for your god helps you;[9]
Thus you shall say: All hail! and peace be both unto you, and peace be to your house, and peace be unto all that you have.[10]

Notes:

  1. in the presence of three friends
  2. Psalms 30:12
  3. Jeremiah 31:13
  4. Deuteronomy 23:6
  5. Psalms 55:19
  6. Isaiah 35:10
  7. 1 Samuel 14:45
  8. Isaiah 57:19
  9. 1 Chronicles 12:19
  10. 1 Samuel 25:6
 . Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication . 1.0 . Universal .
“Ritual for Judging Bad Dreams for Good” is shared by Aharon Varady with a Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication 1.0 Universal declaration.
Aharon Varady

About Aharon Varady


Founding director of the Open Siddur Project, Aharon Varady is a Jewish educator (M.A. J.Ed.) and community planner (M.C.P.) working to improve stewardship of the Public Domain, be it the physical and natural commons of urban park systems or the creative and cultural commons of Torah study. His work and writing have been featured in the Atlantic Magazine, Tablet, and Haaretz, as an outspoken representative of the free-culture and open-source movement in the Jewish community.

Aharon Varady serves as hierophant, welcoming new users, and administering opensiddur.org as its webmaster and editor-in-chief.

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