Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I don't know how many sects actually do this, but some people have the custom to say a tehfillah which is all about dreams. In it we ask Hashem to make all our good dreams come true whether "...I have dreamed about others, or myself, or that others have dreamed about me...".

This Tehfillah is said during Birchas Kohanim on Yom Tov (not during a regular Shabboss in Eretz Yisroel). My question is, why do we ask about dreams of all things when the Kohanim are blessing us?

share|improve this question
re: on Yom Tov: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/14801/759 – Double AA Aug 14 '12 at 18:36
@DoubleAA all he says is why some people say it on yom tov. Not at that point in davening? – shachna Aug 14 '12 at 22:00
Yes. You distinguished between Yom Tov in Chu"l and Shabbat in E"Y. I was just linking to more discussion regarding that distinction. – Double AA Aug 14 '12 at 22:01
@DoubleAA thanks it was informative. – shachna Aug 14 '12 at 23:46
up vote 7 down vote accepted

I have had this same question for some time, and in addition to the answer that paquda provided, I have come across the following answer, although it doesn't satisfy me that much.

The source for mentioning dreams comes from the Gemara in Berachos 55b

האי מאן דחזא חלמא ולא ידע מאי חזא, ליקום קמי כהני בעידנא דפרסי ידייהו

The Soncino translation:

If one has seen a dream and does not remember what he saw, let him stand before the priests at the time when they spread out their hands, (18)

(18) To say the priestly benediction.

The Gemara then enumerates the prayer that one says during the Priestly Blessing.

The Noam Elimelech in Parshas Teruma (second column, 6th line from top) states:

על דרך דאיתא בספר למה שאנו אומרים בשעת ברכת כהנים רבונו של עולם חלום חלמתי, הטעם שהחלום הוא אחד מששים בנבואה, והכהנים הוא כולו נבואה שמטעם זה אסור להסתכל בידי הכהנים שהשכינה שורה בידיהם ולכן אנו אומרים רבונו של עולם כדי לבטל החלום בששים

My rough summary/translation:

"We say a prayer for dreams during the Priestly blessing because a dream is one sixtieth of prophecy, and the Priests achieve full prophecy during their blessing, and the dream becomes nullified during the Priestly blessing. For this same reason we are not allowed to look at the hands of the Priests because the Divine Presence rests among them."

This is basically saying that the Kohanim achieve full prophecy during the Birchas Kohanim, and since dreams are 1/60th of a prophecy, the dreams are nullified within the Priestly blessing according to the principle of בטל בשישים - batel bshishim, (from Wikipedia: "nullified in sixty; that is, permissible so long as forbidden ingredients constitute no more than 1/60 of the whole", see this article, especially the introduction and paragraph I for more details about this Halachic principle).

The idea that dreams are 1/60 of prophecy comes from the Gemara in Berachos 57b which states:

חלום אחד מששים לנבואה

The Soncino translation:

A dream is one-sixtieth part of prophecy.

See this article for more information on this concept.

His source is In my opinion, not such a solid answer, though works well with the 60 words drash that paquda brought, furthermore I have never seen an earlier source for the Noam Elimelech's statement that the priests achieve full prophecy during the Priestly blessing.

share|improve this answer

Yalkut Shim'oni, parashat Naso, remez taf shin yud, expounds Song of Songs verses 3:7-8 in relation to birkat cohanim:

Behold, it is the bed of Solomon; sixty mighty men are about it, of the mighty men of Israel. They all handle the sword, and are expert in war; every man hath his sword upon his thigh, because of dread in the night.

The sixty mighty men are the sixty letters that make up birkat cohanim. The words have the power, like mighty men, to protect us from, among other things, 'dread in the night', i.e, something frightening seen in a dream of the night.

(I saw this Yalkut Shim'oni quoted in relation to birkat cohanim in the siddur Sha'ar HaRachamim, edited by Eliezer Weisfisch.)

The directive to pray concerning a dream during birkat cohanim is in the Gemara, Berachot 55b, http://e-daf.com/index.asp?ID=108&size=1.

share|improve this answer
Great insight above as to the why then...ie.. Why did the amoraim in Brachot daf 55b advise us to say it then. – user2797 May 16 '13 at 12:17

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.