What’s a dream? The truth is, that when you’re sleeping and your soul goes up to heaven, you’re on the level that you can receive things that you cannot receive when you are awake.
Rebbe Nachman says: All the things which G-d is sending down to this world, they are on the level of a dream, it’s not real / actualized yet.
How do you conceive of this thing which is coming down from heaven? You conceive of it only on the level of a dream. But then, it still has to come down into this world, and this depends on you.
You have to realize that this light which is coming down from heaven has no vessels, yet you’re the vessel for it. So something’s coming down from heaven, and the way you receive it, that’s the shape you are giving to that light. And whatever level you are on, whatever you really are, that’s what will become of the dream.
So, therefore, the vessel of the dreams are your thoughts. And it depends on the holiness of your thoughts. If your thoughts are holy, then your thoughts are vessels for dreams and the great light. If all day long you have evil thoughts, so then at night, though something’s coming down from heaven, but since you’re full of evil and hatred, everything is wrong, not with the dream, but with you. You’re taking this dream and turning it around, making the dream bad.
But then, everybody knows that if you have a dream that’s very disturbing and you don’t know what to do with it, so then you need to ask three friends, or at least one, telling them, “I had a dream and I don’t know what to do with it.” These friends have to tell you, they mamash have to say this; “It means, you saw a good dream, you saw a good dream, you saw a good dream.”
The ultimate vessel for a dream is not so much your thoughts, as it is your words. So, as much as the dream, the great light from heaven reaches your thoughts, but when it reaches your words, then it becomes real. And the words are so holy and so real that if your friends love you, they make vessels for that dream, even if your vessels weren’t so good and you destroyed this holy light, the friends get in there and they reshape your dream, and make it into a good dream.
Therefore, Rebbe Nachman says something really strong / powerful. Everybody knows that on the High Holidays, and in Jerusalem every day, when the priests are giving us their blessings, we have a little prayer to say while they say the blessing, “G-d bless you and keep you.” Then we have to say a little prayer, “G-d, I had a dream and I don’t know what to do with it. Please let it be a good dream.”
Then Rebbe Nachman adds something that is just so beautiful. Blessings are dreams, blessings are dreams. If someone loves you very much, they make those dreams become real. So the priests loved Israel so much that they had the power of reshaping the dreams with their words, of bringing the dreams down to the world in a positive way. So, therefore, when someone blesses you, this is the time to ask that your dreams should be good.
Therefore, he continues with something very, very strong; the truth is that the holiest Jew in the world was Joseph hatzadik. His whole thing was dreams. He became a king through dreams. He got out of prison because of dreams, he interpreted the dreams of the baker, and he became a king because he interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh. What’s the specialty of Joseph? Joseph was the utmost conception we have of holy thoughts. His words were so pure that he could mamash interpret dreams. He could take the dream of Pharaoh and feed the whole world with that dream.
Why do we dream at night? Because at night, the only thing which we have is imagination. And the greatest vessel for dreams is imagination.
Rebbe Nachman says the most way out / amazing thing. The strongest imagination that you need is to believe that G-d created heaven and earth. You look at the world and you see a solid world, you need the strongest and holiest imagination to believe that G-d created heaven and earth.
Joseph, who had the utmost purity of thought, was the one who knew that there really is one G-d. Rebbe Nachman says that all the holy tzadikim, all the holy people, they had this strong imagination. And if you have this tremendous imagination, not only can you receive dreams, but you can interpret dreams, and even uplift someone else’s dreams.
He says another sweet beautiful thing: What is a stronger imagination, imagining a great theory or imagining a good story? Rebbe Nachman says that the soul is only stories. Because the fact is that when you dream, you don’t dream about a theory; when you dream, you dream stories. Maybe in the story of the dream you spoke a story, because the real imagination is a story.
There are two kinds of stories. There are stories that put you to sleep when you listen to them, and there are stories that wake you up.
So Rebbe Nachman says, the difference between the dreams and the stories of holy people, and of the not-so-holy people, is that the dreams and stories of the unholy people put you to sleep. That means that while they are sleeping, they are dreaming of stories that put them even more to sleep. And the tzadik, the holy person, dreams in a way that wakens him up, and wakes up the whole world.
The truth is that everybody has to know that a dream comes from the highest and deepest secrets of the world. That means that even in the dream of the lowest creature in the world, it too is full of the greatest secrets of the world and the mysteries of life. But the only one who is really in tune with this is the holy person, who has holy imagination.
Let’s put it this way, how far can you go without holy imagination? You can dream of killing the world. Holy imagination is completely infinite; not only can you see the destruction of the whole world, but you can imagine that there is still one G-d after all that.
So, therefore, Rebbe Nachman says that before you go to sleep, this is what you have to do, and what you have to ask for. The most important thing to ask for is, “Please let my imagination be so pure that my imagination will be a vessel for the dreams I’m dreaming.”
Think about it one more time. You know what’s happening at night? The new day is coming down. What gives you the strength to live another day? The dream you had last night.
The question is: What did you dream about? How did you receive that dream? If your imagination is way out and you can imagine that there is one G-d, then the next morning you wake up and your imagination is so holy and you are so full of life that you have a story for the world which will wake up the whole world. Your dream can bring the world back to life.
Because the truth is that Joseph was so holy, not only his first dream that he would be the king of the world and that he would feed the world and bring it life, but even his lifting up of the dream of Pharaoh, this low creature, Joseph was able to lift up his dream and via this dream he fed the world. That means Joseph was on the level of the highest imagination.
There are a lot of people who are imagining G-d, but they are imagining Him on the level of theory, which is not real. It’s not a dream. It has to be on the level of a story, and then you come to the world and you tell them that there really is one G-d.
You see, there are people who are imagining the Oneness of G-d without a story, yet the real people are imagining G-d on the level of a story.