Brachot 56 - Dreams follow the interpretation

Rav Bana'ah said, "There were twenty-four interpreters of dreams in Jerusalem. Once I had a dream and went to each one for the interpretation. Each one interpreted it in a different way, and all these interpretations were realized for me, following the principle stated in the Torah that 'all dreams follow the mouth', that is, the import of a dream depends upon the interpretation given to it." But is there such phrase in the Torah? - Indeed, yes, in the story of Joseph, where is says, " Just as he interpreted it for us, so did it happen ."

Bar Hedya was an interpreter of dreams. If one gave him money, he would interpret the dream for the good, and for one who did not pay him - for the bad. Once Abaye and Rava both saw the same dream, and they asked Bar Hedya for the interpretation; Abaye gave him a zuz, whereas Rava did not give him any money. In their dreams, they both heard the phrase, " Your ox will be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will not eat from it ." To Rava he said, "Your business will fail, and on account of your great sorrow you will have no interest in eating," but to Abaye he said, "Your business will profit, and on account of your great joy you will have no interest in eating."

They then recounted another dream, in which they were read the phrase " Your sons and daughters will be given to another people ." To Abaye he said, "Your sons and daughter will be numerous, and will want them to marry relatives from your side, but your wife will prevail to marry relatives from her side, and this is the same as another people." To Rava he said, "Your wife will die, you will remarry, and your sons and daughters will come into the hands of another woman, their stepmother."

After many more similar predictions Rava started giving him money, and Bar Hedya started giving him favorable interpretations. One day he predicted that a miracle will happen to Rava. As they were traveling on a ship, Bar Hedya decided to disembark, since he reasoned that a miracle might not happen to him, and in doing so dropped his manual of dream interpretations, where Rava saw a rule that "dreams follow the interpretation." He then told Bar Hedya, "So you did all of that!? I forgive you all, except for the death of my wife. May your fall into the hands of a power that will have no pity on you."

Bar Hedya decided to exile himself, hoping to mitigate Rava's curse. He went to Rome and got friendly with the gaurdian of the emperor's silk wardrobe. In his dream, the guardian saw a worm in his finger, but without payment Bar Hedya refused to interpret the dream. When he saw many worms, Bar Hedya told him that the wardrobe was ruined with worms, and they executed the guardian, but before he died, he told them about Bar Hedya, and they executed him also, by tying his legs to two bent cedar trees and then allowing them to straighten up.

Art: John Anster Fitzgerald - The Stuff that Dreams are made of