BY ALBERT SLOMOVITZ / AJT //
As we conclude the festive Chanukah holiday, a time which focuses on miracles, the Torah beckons us to think about the future in a fascinating way: through our dreams.
This week’s sedrah is Miketz, which discusses dreams and their interpretations by our ancestor Joseph. So, I thought this a good opportunity for us to consider what our dreams are for America, Israel and ourselves as the year 2012 rapidly comes to a conclusion.
It’s eerie that Joseph’s interpretation of the dream about the seven healthy and lean cows, and the parallel ears of corn, is something that we can relate to.
We know that life often goes through periods of prosperity and times of shortfalls. My dream for America in 2013 – a dream I imagine we all share – is that the economy starts to reassert itself. It’s so vitally important on so many levels for people to have jobs.
This is not just a question of economics. Our tradition clearly teaches that the highest level of tzedekah is helping someone learn a skill so that they can earn a living.
Along with this dream is a parallel one for our representative leaders in Washington: Get your acts together!
As a professor of American history, I can recall many examples of members of Congress working in tandem for the sake of the country. During the early days of the New Deal in 1933, over a dozen major proposals were passed by Congress at the request of President Roosevelt.
This Congress can do the same. It’s time for our New Deal!
My dream for Israel is that the beginnings of real legitimate peace come to the region. I also dream that the other counties of the world use fair standards of justice and morality before they judge Israel.
I hope that the perilous status of Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya will be resolved to end the real suffering for these folks. The end of their turmoil might create the circumstances for genuine peace in the region.
It is not so unlikely to dream, as Martin Luther King did in 1963, that the children of Israelis and the children of Palestinians could sit down together and break bread and approach one another in decency and harmony. But this dream cannot be contemplated while Palestinian leaders and their governing documents call for the destruction of Israel.
Still, we can and should visit and support Israel; this is another dream fulfilled.
Finally, I dream of family.
Sometimes, dreams are just that – dreams – and never attainable except in our minds. But there are many who wish for better family relations, and that’s a very possible goal to be realized.
If we want to strengthen a relationship with a spouse, child or other family member, we can begin now. Make time for lunches, phone calls or e-mail chats; communicate with that loved one how you feel and what you hope to accomplish. Often, they will respond in a very positive way.
But someone needs to take the first step. In 2013, you can be that person.
Just How Powerful You Are
I’m a big believer in dreams and their significance. I contend that they often reflect another dimension of our reality. Dreams sometimes relate our fears and concerns about the “what-ifs” of life. At other times, they can hint at the enormous possibilities of what we can accomplish.
Our lives are comprised of both types of dreams. Our task is to remember that we, created in the image of the Almighty, have the ability to change the world, one building, one job, one relationship at a time.
Have a happy, healthy and dream-filled 2013.
Rabbi Albert Slomovitz is the spiritual leader of Atlanta Chevre Minyan and a member of the Atlanta Rabbinical Association.