“Golde, I want to tell you a story about a man who interpreted dreams.”
This got her attention immediately.
“A woman once came to Rabbi Eliezer and asked him to interpret her dreams. She told him that she had dreamed the ceiling of her house had collapsed on her. Rabbi Eliezer said, ‘This means you will have a baby soon. The cracking ceiling is your womb. The ceiling falling on you symbolizes the pain of giving birth.’ His words came true. She had a baby.”
“That’s a wonderful story, Tevye. Now tell me your dream.”
“I’m not finished. The same woman came back to Rabbi Eliezer to have him interpret another dream, but she couldn’t find him. She looked all over, but, finally, his students told her he was out of town.”
“She was disappointed, but the students said that they could interpret the dream for her. The woman said she had again dreamed of the ceiling falling in on her. The students told her this meant her husband would die and her life would fall into ruin. She was overwrought and went home sobbing.”
Golde was listening as though I was revealing a prophecy from the Almighty.
“The poor woman cried and cried for days and no one could make her stop,” I continued. “Her husband was so upset about her; he had a stroke and died.”
“When Rabbi Eliezer returned from his trip, he heard what had happened. He rushed over to the woman’s house. She told him her story. He then asked his students to repeat what they had said to her. Hearing their answer, he was furious with them.”
“Why?” Golde interrupted. “They were just doing what they had learned.”
“No, Golde they were not. Rabbi Eliezer told them, ‘You killed her husband. As sure as if you had done it with your own hands, you have killed the man and ruined her life! You fools! Don’t you know that a dream will usually come out the way it is interpreted?”
This excerpt is from Mitchell Bard’s novel, After Anatevka – Tevya Goes to Palestine available now in paperback and on Kindle.