Dreams Can Come True - " ..."

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Objetivo del recurso


1. To think about the importance of dreams

2. To consider the changes throughout Herzl's life and his dream

3. To consider how we all need to dream and work to allow our dreams to become reality

Contenidos de los recursos


In this week's sidra we again see the importance of dreams. We really need to stop, think and ask ourselves, what does it mean to dream?

Not just the strange things that go on inside our heads when we sleep, but the kind of dreams Martin Luther King spoke of when he uttered those immortal words, "I have a dream".

To be able to honestly assess our situation and ourselves and develop real goals for the future is an amazing thing to be able to do! Let's remember what Herzl explained, "Im Tirtzo Ein Zoo Agadah" - "If you will it, it is no dream"

The story so far

Okay, so we got as far as the brothers planning to kill Yosef - what happened next? Well, Reuven stuck up for Yosef and said maybe they could just chuck him in a well or something (His intention was to pull him out afterwards) and off he went for a walk. As soon as Yosef approached, his brothers nicked his funky coat and threw him in an empty well. As the brothers sat down for a meal they saw some Yishmaelim walking in their direction, and decided to sell their brother. So, they sold him for 20 silver pieces and that way they had not killed him and didn't feel quite as guilty. When Reuven returned, he was gutted about what the others had done. The brothers killed a goat and dipped Yosef's coat in it. They went home and showed Ya'akov the coat as proof, explaining that a wild animal killed him. Ya'akov was inconsolable. In Egypt Yosef was sold to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh.

Shortly after this Yehuda met and married Shua and they had 3 children Er, Onan and Shelah. Tamar was chosen as a wife for Er, but he was evil in G-d's eyes and after they married he died. Onan married her (as was the custom of the time) but he was a bit dodgy also and also died soon after the wedding. The next in line was Shelah, but as Yehuda was concerned for his life, he asked Tamar to be a widow until Shelah was ready to marry. Quite a while passed and Tamar had still not heard anything, so when she heard that Yehuda was in the area; she disguised herself and went out to meet him. He was rather down as his wife had just died, and he found solace with who he thought was a prostitute (but surprise, was Tamar!) He had given her gifts of his seal, wrap and staff, which she latter used as evidence against him when she realised she was pregnant, and was accused of sleeping around. Yehuda realised what he had done, he apologised and cleared her name. Tamar had twins, Peretz and Zerach.

Meanwhile, in Egypt, Hashem had made Yosef (who was a bit of a stunner,) highly successful in Potifar's house, and was appointed Potifar's personal servant with tons of responsibilities. The wife of Potifar quite fancied Yosef and kept asking him to sleep with her. (This isn't me being colloquial - read the text!) Yosef, being a top bloke constantly refused. One day, when the house was empty, she grabbed his top and begged him to sleep with her. He ran out, and she realised that she was still holding his top, so she claimed he had tried to rape her (if she couldn't have him, no one could!) He was chucked into prison, and became a favourite there.

Shortly after this Pharoh's butler and baker were arrested and thrown in prison. One night they both had bizarre dreams that they related to Yosef, who with the help of Hashem interpreted them correctly. Following the interpretations, the baker was hanged and the butler reinstated.

(1) Two full years passed. Then Pharoh had a dream. He was standing near the Nile, 2) when suddenly 7 handsome, healthy-looking cows emerged from the Nile and grazed in the marsh grass. 3) Then another 7, ugly, lean cows emerged from the Nile and stood next to the cows already on the riverbank. 4) The ugly, lean cows ate up the 7 handsome, fat cows. Pharoh then woke up. 5) He fell asleep again and had a second dream. He saw 7 fat, good ears of grain, growing on a single stalk. 6) Then, suddenly, another 7 ears of grain grew behind them, thin and scorched by the [hot] east wind. 7) The 7 thin ears swallowed up the 7 fat, full ears. Pharoh woke up and realised that it had all been a dream 15) Pharoh said to Yosef, "I had a dream and there is no one who can interpret it. I heard that when you hear a dream, you can explain it. " 16) Yosef answered Pharoh, "It is not by my own power. But G-d may provide an answer concerning Pharoh's fortune." 25) Yosef said to Pharoh, "Pharoh's dream has a single meaning. G-d has told Pharoh what He is about to do. 26) The 7 good cows are 7 years. The 7 ears are [the same] 7 years. It is one dream. 27) The 7 emaciated, bad cows who came after [the first ones] are also 7 years. The 7 empty, wind-scorched ears will [likewise] be 7 years of famine."

Bereishit 41:1-7, 15-16, 25-27

Why was no one able to interpret the dreams?
How did Pharoh know to call upon Yosef (what happened in the missed out bits)?
What is quite impressive in Yosef's first comments (considering he's just been pulled out of prison and is standing in front of the most powerful bloke around)?
What is the connection between Yosef and dreams?

Dreams are fascinating, and in both Vayeishev and Miketz they play a huge role. There is plenty of Halachik debate over dreams and how much we should or shouldn't read into them, but that is not what we are going to focus on this week. Rather, simply having dreams, and not just the bizarreness at night, but real hopes, aims and ambitions. Having a vision and wanting to see it through To really dream!

As the parshiot develop, we see how Yosef's dreams quite literally become reality. Who else in our beautiful and interesting history stands out as a real dreamer, a visionary?

The person that immediately springs to mind is Theodor (Binyamin Ze'ev) Herzl 1860 - 1904.

"In Basle I founded the Jewish state . . . Maybe in five years, certainly in fifty, everyone will realize it."

Theodor (Binyamin Ze'ev) Herzl, the visionary of Zionism, was born in Budapest in 1860. He was educated in the spirit of the German Jewish Enlightenment of the period, learning to appreciate secular culture. In 1878 the family moved to Vienna, and in 1884 Herzl was awarded a doctorate of law from the University of Vienna. He became a writer, a playwright and a journalist as the Paris correspondent of the influential liberal Vienna newspaper "Neue Freie Presse".

Herzl first encountered the anti-Semitism that would shape his life and the fate of the Jews in the twentieth century while studying at the University of Vienna (1882). Later, during his stay in Paris as a journalist, he was brought face-to-face with the problem.

In 1894, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer in the French army, was unjustly accused of treason, mainly because of the prevailing anti-Semitic atmosphere. Herzl witnessed mobs shouting "Death to the Jews" in France and resolved that there was only one solution: the mass immigration of Jews to a land that they could call their own. Thus, the Dreyfus Case became one of the determinants in the beginnings of Political Zionism. Herzl concluded that anti-Semitism was a stable and immutable factor in human society, which assimilation did not solve. He mulled over the idea of Jewish sovereignty, and, despite ridicule from Jewish leaders, published Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State, 1896). Herzl argued that the essence of the Jewish problem was not individual but national. He declared that the Jews could gain acceptance in the world only if they ceased being a national anomaly. The Jews are one people, he said, and their plight could be transformed into a positive force by the establishment of a Jewish state with the consent of the great powers. He saw the Jewish question as an international political question to be dealt with in the arena of international politics.

Herzl proposed a practical program for collecting funds from Jews around the world by a company to be owned by stockholders, which would work toward the practical realization of this goal. (This organization, when it was eventually formed, was called the Zionist Organization.) He saw the future state as a model social state, basing his ideas on the European model of the time, of a modern enlightened society. It would be neutral and peace seeking, and of a secular nature.

Herzl's ideas were met with enthusiasm by the Jewish masses in Eastern Europe, although Jewish leaders were less ardent. Herzl appealed to wealthy Jews such as Baron Hirsch and Baron Rothschild, to join the national Zionist movement, but in vain. He then appealed to the people, and the result was the convening of the First Zionist Congress in Basle, Switzerland, on August 2931, 1897. It was here that Herzl stated, "In Basle I founded the Jewish state . . . Maybe in five years, certainly in fifty, everyone will realize it." He had a vision that he had begun to bring into fruition, and with his incredible insight could already see how it would soon become reality. The Congress was the first interterritorial gathering of Jews on a national and secular basis. Here the delegates adopted the Basle Program, the program of the Zionist movement, and declared "Zionism seeks to establish a home for the Jewish people in Palestine secured under public law." At the Congress the World Zionist Organization was established as the political arm of the Jewish people, and Herzl was elected its first president.

Herzl convened six Zionist Congresses between 1897 and 1902. It was here that the tools for Zionist activism were forged.

Herzl saw the need for encouragement by the great powers of the aims of the Jewish people in the Land. Thus, he traveled to the Land of Israel and Istanbul in 1898 to meet with Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. When these efforts proved fruitless, he turned to Great Britain. The only concrete offer he received from the British was the proposal of a Jewish autonomous region in Uganda.

At the Sixth Zionist Congress (1903), Herzl proposed the British Uganda Program as a temporary refuge for Jews in Russia in immediate danger. While Herzl made it clear that this program would not affect the ultimate aim of Zionism, a Jewish entity in the Land of Israel, the proposal aroused a storm at the Congress and nearly led to a split in the Zionist movement. The Uganda Program was finally rejected by the Zionist movement at the Seventh Zionist Congress in 1905.

Herzl died in Vienna in 1904, of pneumonia and a weak heart overworked by his incessant efforts on behalf of Zionism. By then the movement had found its place on the world political map. In 1949, Herzl's remains were brought to Israel and reburied on MountHerzl in Jerusalem.

Herzl coined the phrase "If you will, it is no dream," which became the motto of the Zionist movement. Although at the time no one could have imagined it, Zionism led, only fifty years later, to the establishment of the independent State of Israel.

(Edited from The American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise.)

Herzl had a dream that many laughed at. He was not the first to dream this dream, but he was the first to really push this dream to the forefront of people's minds - both the minds of Jews and of World leaders. He serves as an incredible example of what can be achieved when we really put our hearts and souls into something.

Imagine by John Lennon
Imagine there's no heaven,
It's easy if you try,
No hell below us,
Above us only sky,
Imagine all the people
living for today...

Imagine there's no countries,
It isn't hard to do,
Nothing to kill or die for,
No religion too,
Imagine all the people
living life in peace...

Imagine no possessions,
I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger,
A brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer,
but I'm not the only one,
I hope some day you'll join us,
And the world will live as one.


Can you even begin to imagine what we could achieve if we were all dreamers. As long as we acknowledge the fact that it is not enough just to dream, we must follow our visions through. As Herzl showed, we all have the ability to dream, and if it is something that you really want, you can make it happen.


1. To think about the importance of dreams
The song game - (one of my personal favourites) split your kvutsah into teams and give them all a theme (weather) or word (love). They have a few minutes in their teams to think of as many songs as they can with that word in it. Chose a team who will start and in what order the other teams will follow. Go around the teams listening to them singing the song with the special word in it. Teams are out if they repeat a song that has already been sung in that round or if they cannot think of a song. The word for the last round should be 'dream'.

2. To consider the changes throughout Herzl's life and his dream
Make a huge board game (so that chanichim can walk about on it,) that tells the story of Herzl's life. Some squares can be statements about what happened, others can be more interactive e.g. skip a go as you consider the Dreyfus affair, move forward 5 spaces for establishing the first Zionist Congress, move back 3 places for considering Uganda

3. To consider how we all need to dream and work to allow our dreams to become reality
The chocolate game - you really want something, but there are so many hurdles in the way and missed opportunities.
Party quirks with a twist - each person has an ambition e.g. pop star, chef which they need to act out, and the host of the party, or all the other guests must guess what ambition they are trying to achieve. Once they have worked out what a person is, the 'dreamer' must explain how they have always had this ambition and how they went about achieving it. This can lead into a discussion, about how we realise dreams -are some easier than others? (E.g. if you have always wanted to be a teacher, you get a degree and practice teaching a lot (there's a bit more to it!) whereas establishing a Jewish State is a lot harder to achieve!)

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