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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

He Dreams of Papyrus

Well, this post is a week late, but I did want to post it. Parshat Mikeitz is within a series of parshiyot where dreams are central. In these chapters we hear of dreams, their consequences and the gift of interpreting those dreams.

I know that I have wanted to write about dreams but putting words to dreams is difficult. There is a the neuroscience of dreams and there is a large amount of rabbinic literature intertwined with dreams, but in this short poem I want to imagine two people sleeping next to each other on a bed and imagine their dreams and how those dreams diverge. This poem begins with Yosef and his wife Osnat sharing their bed at night, but not sharing their dreams, and then the poem diverges and weaves onto the beds and dreams of others. There is no rhyme or reason to a dream and there is no rhyme or reason to this poem unless you find yourself in it. Do you?

For more information on what Judaism says about dreams: The Significance of Dreams

I hope to have this week's post up over the next few days.

May we all dream of good news.



He Dreams of Papyrus

He dreams of papyrus and she dreams of empty couches

He once dreamt of rain, but no longer, and she dreams of a world she does not recognize.

She dreams of flying over the tree canopy and he dreams of bees every night.

He dreams in the language of his childhood and she does not dream at all.

He dreams of nights in the forest and she she dreams of numbers on her arm.

She dreams of peace and he dreams of the coming of the messiah.

He dreams that he walks barefoot on thorns and she dreams of being a child forever.

She dreams of that final conversation, so muddled, and he dreams of birds snatching him in their talons and flying away.

He dreams of the carnage of war, but he is blind and she dreams of thunder, but she is deaf.

She dreams of her smiling mother  and he dreams of laying naked on parched soil, surrounded by corn stalks.

She dreams in color and he dreams of absence.

She dreams that he will come home soon and he dreams of her.

He dreams of celebrity and she dreams of tumbling down rickety stairs.

He dreams of being frozen to the ground under his feet as a lion hunts him and

she dreams of standing helpless as a roaring tornado approaches.


He dreams of papyrus and she dreams of empty couches.


Sometimes it is impossible to wake up.

After two years’ time, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing by the Nile,

when out of the Nile there came up seven cows, handsome and sturdy, and they grazed in the reed grass. But presently, seven other cows came up from the Nile close behind them, ugly and gaunt, and stood beside the cows on the bank of the Nile;

and the ugly gaunt cows ate up the seven handsome sturdy cows. And Pharaoh awoke.

He fell asleep and dreamed a second time: Seven ears of grain, solid and healthy, grew on a single stalk. But close behind them sprouted seven ears, thin and scorched by the east wind.

And the thin ears swallowed up the seven solid and full ears. Then Pharaoh awoke: it was a dream!

Genesis 41:1-7

וַיִּיקַ֥ץ פַּרְעֹ֖ה וְהִנֵּ֥ה חֲלֽוֹם׃

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Jan 17

I was very moved by your poem on dreams. And aren’t dreams reflective of life? He imagines sitting down and watching a football game and she imagines taking a trip with her girlfriends…but dreams can be dismissed while life can’t.

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