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To dream again

קריעת ים סוף
ציור" יואל וקסברגר, מלכות וקסברגר

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

The following provocative thought comes from Natanel Peretz:
"What is the opposite of a good dream? The American psychiatrist Thomas Ogden once wrote that 'the opposite of a good dream is not a nightmare,' but rather 'a desolate land in which there is no imagination and no reality, no forgetfulness and no memory, no sleep and no awakening.'
This was the precise situation of the children of Israel in Egypt. After many years of slavery, the soul becomes dry and you are no longer able to dream.
This dreadful reality, in which nothing in the world exists other than a gray routine, equates to being in the world's worst prison. This is, literally, a desolation of the soul in which you cannot imagine that things could be different because you have forgotten that any other reality exists.
How does a person regain the capacity to dream? For an individual, we would recommend sound psychotherapeutic treatment. But when we are talking about hundreds of thousands of people, even the most expert psychologist will not be able to help. In order for an entire people to be able to dream once again, the heavens themselves will need to open. Reality will have to shatter as the earth quakes.
Only such a dramatic event will succeed in awakening a spark of hope within the enslaved heart. And this is what happened. Ten plagues, the Exodus from Egypt, the splitting of the Red Sea -- these were signs that there was hope, things could change, that the seemingly blind laws of nature could be broken.
And so too regarding our own souls. Eyes where the spark has been extinguished suddenly sparkle anew. In rusty wires, long dormant electric current begins to flow again. This is the greatest miracle of all and is what this week's Torah portion is about: people who were dead on the inside and regain the capacity to dream.


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