Saturday, November 24, 2007

Vayeishev 4 - Butler and Baker

In the end of this week's parsha, the Chief Butler and Chief Baker each had dreams while in prison, which Yosef interprets. The Butler dreamed of a grapevine which had three branches of grapes, which he squeezed into wine that he brought before Pharoah, while the Baker dreamed that birds were eating from the top of three baskets of bread sitting on top of his head. Yosef interpreted both dreams as referring to the upcoming three day period, after which the Butler would be reinstated and the Baker hung. Being that the interpretations of their dreams were parallel, why were their dreams disparate, in that the Butler utilized all three branches set before him, while the birds ate only the top of the Baker's baskets?

It seems to me that the answer lies in the different reactions of the two men to their dreams' interpretations. Once the Butler heard his dream's interpretation, he would strongly hope that the dream would come true and would be confident in the interpretation . Hence, the first two days are associated with the third day, because through all of them, the Butler had thoughts of redemption. The Baker, on the other hand, would hope that Yosef's interpretation would not come true. Hence, during the first two days, he would reassure himself that his dream would still have some positive meaning to it, while only on the third day he would be forced to admit that, indeed, the dream heralded his execution.

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