Living the Dream

Thursday, 22 December, 2016 - 7:27 pm

Search on Google: “How dreams create success”, and you will find over 39 million results. We were brought up with the idea of the “American dream”. How many times have we been told to “dream bigger”? I'm sure all of us have been told countless times never to give up on our dreams.

Yet it all seems so cliché. Yes, it's nice to dream big, but a dream is just that- a fleeting neurological phenomenon. How does that help us achieve success?

In this week's Torah portion, we come across the story of Joseph, the quintessential dreamer. Joseph had a dream that he would one day be a king, that he would have the ability to change the entire world and make it a better place.

The funny thing about dreams is that they have a way of disappointing you. Joseph, hated by his brothers, was sold as a slave to Egypt. Yet even in Egypt, Joseph maintained his dreamy naivetè. Though he was a slave who was worked to the bone, he always saw the best in people. Young and good-looking, he was an easy target for his seductive mistress. Rejecting her advances, Joseph's dreams were dashed even further after he was thrown into a dungeon.

Yet even in prison, Joseph continued to dream. He worked hard to gain the favor of the prison warden. He even helped a couple of his fellow prisoners in interpreting their dreams. He asked them to remember him after they were freed from prison. Yet, his dreams were dashed once again as they forgot him.

Finally, his dreams were fulfilled. Pharaoh needed help interpreting his dream and the rest is history.

How was Joseph different in that his dreams were fulfilled, while millions of dreamers worldwide find themselves with dashed hopes and broken dreams?

Joseph was very unique. He did not feel entitled to his dreams but realized that they were something that he had to work toward. Before he was sold as a slave, his father asked him to go visit his brothers. Joseph knew how hated he was by his brothers, yet he went anyway, daring to fulfill his father's wishes. After he was sold as a slave, he decided to live his dream as a king by making his master's house the best it could be. While in prison, he worked to make the prison the most comfortable place it could be for everyone there, smiling to those who needed a smile, hugging those who needed a hug, and even interpreting the random dream or two.

Joseph understood that in order to be a king, one must be able to rule himself. Circumstances may change, but his actions are under his control. He understood the importance of acting like a king and creating a better and kinder environment, be it his master’s house, a prison, or an empty pit.

Joseph didn't just wait for his dreams to come true; he lived the dream, until his dream became a reality!

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