Previous Folio / Berakoth Contents / Tractate List / Navigate Site
Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Berakoth
The elephants are of good omen1 if saddled, of bad omen if not saddled. If one sees the name Huna in a dream, a miracle will be wrought for him.2 If one sees the name Hanina, Hananiah or Jonathan, miracles will be wrought for him.3 If one dreams of a funeral oration [hesped] mercy will be vouchsafed to him from heaven and he will be redeemed.4 This is only if he sees the word in writing.5 If one [in a dream] answers, 'May His great name be blessed', he may be assured that he has a share in the future world. If one dreams that he is reciting the Shema', he is worthy that the Divine presence should rest upon him, only his generation is not deserving enough. If one dreams he is putting on tefillin, he may look forward to greatness, for it says: And all the peoples of the earth shall see that the name of the Lord is called upon thee, and they shall fear thee;6 and it has been taught: R. Eliezer the Great says: This refers to the tefillin of the head.7 If one dreams he is praying, it is a good sign, for him, provided he does not complete the prayer.8
If one dreams that he has intercourse with his mother, he may expect to obtain understanding, since it says, Yea, thou wilt call understanding 'mother'.9 If one dreams he has intercourse with a betrothed maiden, he may expect to obtain knowledge of Torah, since it says, Moses commanded us a law [Torah], an inheritance of the congregation of Jacob.10 Read not morashah [inheritance], but me'orasah [betrothed]. If one dreams he has had intercourse with his sister, he may expect to obtain wisdom, since it says, Say to wisdom, thou art my sister.11 If one dreams he has intercourse with a married woman, he can be confident that he is destined for the future world,12 provided, that is, that he does not know her and did not think of her in the evening.
R. Hiyya b. Abba said: If one sees wheat in a dream, he will see peace, as it says: He maketh thy borders peace; He giveth thee in plenty the fat of wheat.13 If one sees barley14 in a dream, his iniquities will depart, as it says: Thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin expiated.15 R. Zera said: I did not go up from Babylon to the Land of Israel until I saw barley in a dream.16 If one sees in a dream a vine laden with fruit, his wife will not have a miscarriage, since it says, thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine.17 If one sees a choice vine, he may look forward to seeing the Messiah, since it says, Binding his foal unto the vine and his ass's colt unto the choice vine.18 If one sees a fig tree in a dream, his learning will be preserved within him, as it says: Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof.19 If one sees pomegranates in a dream, if they are little ones, his business will be fruitful like a pomegranate; if big ones, his business will increase like a pomegranate. If they are split open, if he is a scholar, he may hope to learn more Torah, as it says: I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine, of the juice of my pomegranate;20 if he is unlearned, he may hope to perform precepts, as it says: Thy temples are like a pomegranate split open.21 What is meant by 'Thy temples' [rakothek]? — Even the illiterate [rekanim]22 among thee are full of precepts like a pomegranate. If one sees olives in a dream, if they are little ones his business will go on fructifying and increasing like an olive. This is if he sees the fruit; but if he sees the tree he will have many sons, as it says: Thy children like olive plants, round about thy table.17 Some say that if one sees an olive in his dream he will acquire a good name, as it says, The Lord called thy name a leafy olive-tree, fair and goodly fruit.23 If one sees olive oil in a dream, he may hope for the light of the Torah, as it says, That they bring unto thee pure olive oil beaten for the light.24 If one sees palm-trees in a dream his iniquities will come to an end, as it says, The punishment of thine iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion.25
R. Joseph said: If one sees a goat in a dream, he will have a blessed year; if several goats, several blessed years, as it says: And there will be goat's milk enough for thy food.26 If one sees myrtle in his dream, he will have good luck with his property,27 and if he has no property he will inherit some from elsewhere. 'Ulla said — according to others, it was taught in a Baraitha: this is only if he sees myrtle on its stem.28 If one sees citron [hadar] in his dream, he is honoured [hadur] in the sight of his Maker, since it says: The fruit of citrons,29 branches of palm-trees.30 If one sees a palm branch in a dream, he is single-hearted in devotion to his Father in Heaven.31 If one sees a goose in a dream, he may hope for wisdom, since it says: Wisdom crieth aloud it, the street;32 and he who dreams of being with one will become head of an academy. R. Ashi said: I saw one and was with one, and I was elevated to a high position.33 If one sees a cock in a dream he may expect a male child; if several cocks, several sons; if a hen, a fine garden and rejoicing.34 If one sees eggs in a dream, his petition remains in suspense;35 if they are broken his petition will be granted. The same with nuts and cucumbers and all vessels of glass and all breakable things like these.
If one dreams that he enters a large town, his desire will be fulfilled, as it says, And He led them unto their desired haven.36 If one dreams that he is shaving his head, it is a good sign for him; if his head and his beard, for him and for all his family. If one dreams that he is sitting in a small boat, he will acquire a good name; if in a large boat, both he and all his family will acquire one; but this is only if it is on the high sea. If one dreams that he is easing himself, it is a good omen for him, as it is said, He that is bent down shall speedily be loosed,37 but this is only if he did not wipe himself [in his dream]. If one dreams that he goes up to a roof, he will attain a high position; if that he goes down, he will be degraded. Abaye and Raba, however, both say that once he has attained a high position he will remain there. If one dreams he is tearing his garments, his evil decree38 will be rent. If one dreams that he is standing naked, if in Babylon he will remain sinless,39 if in the Land of Israel he will be bare of pious deeds.40 If one dreams that he has been arrested by the police, protection will be offered him; if that he has been placed in neck-chains,41 additional protection will be afforded him. This is only [if he dreams] of neck-chains, not a mere rope. If one dreams that he walks into a marsh, he will become the head of an academy;42 if into a forest he will become the head of the collegiates.43
R. Papa and R. Huna the son of Joshua both had dreams. R. Papa dreamt that he went into a marsh and he became head of an academy.44 R. Huna the son of R. Joshua dreamt that he went into a forest and he became head of the collegiates. Some say that both dreamt they went into a marsh, but R. Papa who was carrying a drum45 became head of the academy, while R. Huna the son of R. Joshua who did not carry a drum became only the head of the collegiates. R. Ashi said: I dreamt that I went into a marsh and carried a drum and made a loud noise with it.
A Tanna recited in the presence of R. Nahman b. Isaac: If one dreams that he is undergoing blood-letting, his iniquities are forgiven.46 But it has been taught: His iniquities are recounted? — What is meant by recounted? Recounted so as to be forgiven.
A Tanna recited in the presence of R. Shesheth: If one sees a serpent in a dream, it means that his living is assured;47 if it bites him it will be doubled; if he kills it he will lose his living. R. Shesheth said to him: [In this case] all the more will his living be doubled! This is not so, however; R. Shesheth [explained thus] because he saw a serpent in his dream and killed it.48
A Tanna recited in the presence of R. Johanan: All kinds of drinks are a good sign in a dream except wine; sometimes one may drink it and it turns out well and sometimes one may drink it and it turns out ill. 'Sometimes one may drink it and it turns out well', as it says: Wine that maketh glad the heart of man'.49 'Sometimes one may drink it and it turns out ill', as it says: Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto the bitter in soul.'50 Said R. Johanan unto the Tanna: Teach that for a scholar it is always good, as it says: Come eat of my bread and drink of the wine which I have mingled.51
R. Johanan said: If at the moment of rising a text occurs to one, this is a minor kind of prophecy.
Our Rabbis taught there are three kings [who are important for dreams]. If one sees David in a dream, he may hope for piety; if Solomon, he may hope for wisdom; if Ahab, let him fear for punishment. There are three prophets [of significance for dreams]. If one sees the Book of Kings, he may look forward to greatness; if Ezekiel, he may look forward to wisdom; if Isaiah he may look forward to consolation; if Jeremiah, let him fear for punishment. There are three larger books of the Hagiographa [which are significant for dreams]. If one sees the Book of Psalms, he may hope for piety; if the Book of Proverbs, he may hope for wisdom; if the Book of Job, let him fear for punishment. There are three smaller books of the Hagiographa [significant for dreams]. If one sees the Songs of Songs in a dream, he may hope for piety;1 if Ecclesiastes, he may hope for wisdom; if Lamentations, let him fear for punishment; and one who sees the Scroll of Esther will have a miracle wrought for him. There are three Sages [significant for dreams]. If one sees Rabbi in a dream, he may hope for wisdom; if Eleazar b. Azariah, he may hope for riches;2 if R. Ishmael b. Elisha, let him fear for punishment.3 There are three disciples4 [significant for dreams]. If one sees Ben 'Azzai in a dream, he may hope for piety; if Ben Zoma, he may hope for wisdom; if Aher,5 let him fear for punishment.
All kinds of beasts are a good sign in a dream, except the elephant, the monkey and the long-tailed ape. But a Master has said: If one sees an elephant in a dream, a miracle will be wrought for him?6 — There is no contradiction; in the latter case it is saddled, in the former case it is not saddled. All kinds of metal implements are a good sign in a dream, except a hoe, a mattock, and a hatchet; but this is only if they are seen in their hafts.7 All kinds of fruit are a good sign in a dream, except unripe dates. All kinds of vegetables are a good sign in a dream, except turnip-tops. But did not Rab say: I did not become rich until I dreamt of turnip-tops? — When he saw them, it was on their stems.8 All kinds of colours are a good sign in a dream, except blue.9 All kinds10 of birds are a good sign in a dream, except the owl, the horned owl and the bat.
(Mnemonic: The body, The body, Reflex, Restore, Self-esteem.) Three things enter the body without benefiting it: melilot,11 dateberries, and unripe dates. Three things benefit the body without being absorbed by it: washing, anointing, and regular motion. Three things are a reflex of the world to come: Sabbath, sunlight, and tashmish.12 Tashmish of what? Shall I say of the bed?13 This weakens. It must be then tashmish of the orifices. Three things restore a man's good spirits: [beautiful] sounds, sights, and smells. Three things increase a man's self-esteem:14 a beautiful dwelling, a beautiful wife, and beautiful clothes.
(Mnemonic: Five, Six, Ten.) Five things are a sixtieth part of something else: namely, fire, honey, Sabbath, sleep and a dream. Fire is one-sixtieth part of Gehinnom. Honey is one-sixtieth part of manna. Sabbath is one-sixtieth part of the world to come. Sleep is one-sixtieth part of death. A dream is one-sixtieth part of prophecy.
Six things are a good sign for a sick person, namely, sneezing, perspiration, open bowels, seminal emission, sleep and a dream. Sneezing, as it is written: His sneezings flash forth light.15 Perspiration, as it is written, In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.16 Open bowels, as it is written: If lie that is bent down hasteneth to be loosed, he shall not go down dying to the pit.17 Seminal emission, as it is written: Seeing seed, he will prolong his days.18 Sleep, as it is written: I should have slept, then should I have been at rest.19 A dream, as it is written: Thou didst cause me to dream and make me to live.20
Six things heal a man of his sickness with a complete cure, namely, cabbage, beet, a decoction of dried poley, the maw [of an animal], the womb, and the large lobe of the liver. Some add small fishes, which [not only have this advantage] but also make fruitful and invigorate a man's whole body.
Ten things bring a man's sickness on again in a severe form, namely, to eat beef, fat meat, roast meat, poultry and roasted egg, shaving, and eating cress, milk or cheese, and bathing. Some add, also nuts; and some add further, also cucumbers. It was taught in the school of R. Ishmael: Why are they called kishshu'im [cucumbers]? Because they are painful [kashim] for the body like swords. Is that so? See, it is written: And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb.21 Read not goyim [nations] but ge'im [lords], and Rab Judah said in the name of Rab: These are Antoninus and Rabbi, whose table never lacked either radish, lettuce or cucumbers either in summer or winter!22 — There is no contradiction; the former statement speaks of large ones, the latter of small ones.
Our Rabbis taught: [If one dreams of] a corpse in the house, it is a sign of peace in the house; if that he was eating and drinking in the house, it is a good sign for the house; if that he took articles from the house, it is a bad sign for the house. R. Papa explained it to refer to a shoe or sandal. Anything that the dead person [is seen in the dream] to take away is a good sign except a shoe and a sandal; anything that it puts down is a good sign except dust and mustard.
A PLACE FROM WHICH IDOLATRY HAS BEEN UPROOTED. Our Rabbis taught: If one sees a statue of Hermes,23 he says, Blessed be He who shows long suffering to those who transgress His will. If he sees a place from which idolatry has been uprooted, he says, Blessed be He who uprooted idolatry from our land; and as it has been uprooted from this place, so may it be uprooted from all places belonging to Israel; and do Thou turn the heart of those that serve them24 to serve Thee. Outside Palestine it is not necessary to say: Turn the heart of those that serve them to serve Thee, because most of them are idolaters. R. Simeon b. Eleazar says: Outside Palestine also one should say this, because they will one day become proselytes, as it says, For then will I turn to the peoples a pure language.25
R. Hamnuna said in a discourse: If one sees the wicked Babylon, he should say five benedictions: On seeing [the city] Babylon itself he says, Blessed be He who has destroyed the wicked Babylon. On seeing the palace of Nebuchadnezzar, he says, Blessed be He who destroyed the palace of the wicked Nebuchadnezzar. On seeing the lions' den, or the fiery furnace, he says, Blessed be He who wrought miracles for our ancestors26 in this place. On seeing the statue of Hermes, he says, Blessed be He who shows long suffering to those that transgress His will. On seeing the place from which dust is carried away,27 he says, Blessed be He who says and does, who decrees and carries out. Rab, when he saw asses carrying dust, used to give them a slap on the back and say, Run, ye righteous ones, to perform the will of your Master. When Mar the son of Rabina came to [the city of] Babylon, he used to put some dust in his kerchief and throw it out, to fulfil the text, I will sweep it with the besom of destruction.28 R. Ashi said: I had never heard this saying of R. Hamnuna, but of my own sense I made all these blessings.
- To Next Folio -