- Question: [Monday 16th Teves 5782]
I had a very strange dream on Friday night, by Shabbos Hanukkah. In my dream I dreamt about the three Sifrei Torah being brought out, and that I was given the second Sefer Torah to hold. The third one was given to another individual and as we were walking, he tripped and fell to the ground together with the Sefer Torah which proceeded to roll on the ground. In the dream, I remember us all being in a state of shock and discussing the necessity for the entire community to fast. I eventually woke up realizing that it was all a dream. Funny thing, the next morning in Shul I was actually given the second Sefer Torah to hold just as it was in my dream, however, to my surprise, there was no third Sefer Torah, as it was taken by another Minyan before Shabbos so they can have at least two. Bottom line, the dream was disturbing and would like to know if there’s anything I should do for it.
There is no need for you to fast, although since you write that you were bothered by the dream, I would suggest you give a certain sum of money to charity as a Pidyon. You can also perform Hatavas Chalom, if you wish.
Explanation: It is well-known that dreams were given special significance in both Scripture and Talmud, being treated as a divine message and being subject to interpretation. This created the concept of Taanis Chalom, for one to fast upon having a bad dream in order to redeem it and avoid any negative effect. There are many different opinions regarding what is defined as a bad dream that requires a fast. Regarding a Sefer Torah, we find special significance given, as some opinions rule that one who saw a Sefer Torah burning in his dream is to fast even on Shabbos. However, the Poskim explicitly state that if one had a dream that a Sefer Torah fell from his hand, then he should not fast on Shabbos. This shows that one cannot compare the burning of a Sefer Torah to it falling on the floor regarding the severity of it requiring a fast. Now, since the Poskim only state that one who saw a Sefer Torah burning must fast, and state that having it fall is less severe, therefore there is no precedent to state that seeing a Sefer Torah fall from anothers hand requires one to fast. However, if one sees the Sefer Torah fall from his own hands, then during the week, it is considered a bad dream that requires a fast. Nonetheless, practically, the Poskim all conclude that it is best to simply ignore one’s dreams and not pay attention to them as we are no longer expert in the definition of bad dreams, and that today things have changed from the times of the Talmud just as medical treatment has changed with the generations. Therefore, the best thing is to simply not pay attention to your dream and to move on. Nonetheless, if a person is already bothered by this to the point that he sends a question to a rabbi, it is proper for him to redeem it with charity. It is related that such a dream once occurred with the Chofetz Chaim, and while he did not fast for the dream being that it was Shabbos, he did take it seriously, however, I believe that this depends on the person and his spiritual stature and hence the average individual who is not the Chofetz Chaim should not take this seriously.
Sources: See in general regarding dreams: Brachos 55a-57; See regarding one who sees a Sefer Torah burning in his dream: 3rd opinion in Admur 288:7; Michaber 288:5; Beis Yosef 288; Rav Haiy Gaon, brought in Shiltei Giborim on Mordechai Remez 229:3; See regarding one who had a dream that a Sefer Torah fall from his own hands: M”A 288:7; Maggid Meisharim Vayakhel; Beir Heiytiv 288:10; Kaf Hachaim 288:50; See regarding that today dreams should be ignored as we do not know their proper meaning: 2nd and 5th opinion in Admur 288:7; Michaber 288:5; Tur 568; Rabbeinu Klunimis, brought in Ravayah 860; Mordechai Remez 231; Malbushei Yom Tov; Elya Raba 288:12; Aruch Hashulchan 288:13; Piskeiy Teshuvos 220:1; See regarding redeeming with charity: Kaf Hachaim 220:28; See regarding story with Chofetz Chaim: Otzros Hatorah 3:103