While I was reading through this weeks’ parshah: Miketz, I couldn’t help but think about, and by think about I mean get endlessly stuck in my head, Debbie Friedman’s song, And the Youth Shall See Visions. The line from that song goes and the old shall dream dreams, and the youth shall see visions. This got me thinking about what the difference between dreams and visions really is. Anyone can dream. Young children do it all the time. But I’m not as convinced that every person can see visions. I think only those who want to see visions will see them, and otherwise, their notions of the future will be stuck in their dreams.
In this parshah, Joseph is freed when he interprets one of Pharaoh’s dreams, and therefore, his ability to interpret dreams is what saves him both from slavery and from his brothers. It is very probable that someone else could have interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, it wasn’t that hard to figure out, but the way that Joseph interpreted it required immediate action which may be why it was included in the Torah.
We all have dreams of where we want the world to be in five, ten, fifteen years or what we hope will happen in our lifetimes, but I think what we need to do is have visions. I have a vision for the future where our discourse is not as racially and sexually biased as it is today. I have a vision for a future where kids with disabilities can go to Sunday school just like everyone else. Visions can be big or small. They can affect just your family or the whole world, but the important thing is to take immediate action because while change may be slow, if dreams stay dreams, nothing can happen at all.