What the Dreams of Yaakov and Pharoah Can Teach Us About Cultivating Spirituality

Continuing an approach we followed last week of identifying the repetitive use of an unusual phrase in two different parts of the Torah and seeking an underlying message, I came across an observation of Rabbi Aharon of Karlin I (b. 1736, d. 1772, a student of the Maggid of Mezritch and founder of the Karlin-Stolin Chassidic dynasty) brought down in the sefer Parperaot L'Torah.

R' Karlin notes that following Yaakov's dream with the angels in which Hashem assures him that his descendants will inherit Eretz Yisroel and of Yaakov's own well-being during his travels outside Eretz Yisroel, the Torah states, "V'yikatz Yaakov mishenato v'yomer achayn yesh Hashem bemakom hazeh - Yaakov awoke from his slumber and said "There is G-d in this place..." (28:16).

Contrast this with the first dream of Pharoah in which he saw seven thin cows devour the seven fat cows. Given that the Egyptians worshipped cows, you'd think this dream would have made a tremendous impression on Pharoah - his "g-d" was eaten! Yet, the Torah records, "V'yikatz Pharoah...v'yishan v'yachalom shenit - Pharoah woke up...then fell asleep and dreamed again... (41:4-5). Yes, after this momentous dream, Pharoah fell asleep - a sleep so deep he had another dream!

Of course, the careful reader will notice that the same word "Vayikatz" is used to describe both Yaakov's and Pharoah's awakening from their dreams. What's the message?

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