In the beginning of parshas Vayeishev,after it mentions that Yosef told his brothers about the single dream of them gathering wheat in a field etc., it says that the brothers continued to hate him because of his "dreams", plural.

"8So his brothers said to him, "Will you reign over us, or will you govern us?" And they continued further to hate him on account of his dreams and on account of his words. חוַיֹּ֤אמְרוּ לוֹ֙ אֶחָ֔יו הֲמָלֹ֤ךְ תִּמְלֹךְ֙ עָלֵ֔ינוּ אִם־מָשׁ֥וֹל תִּמְשֹׁ֖ל בָּ֑נוּ וַיּוֹסִ֤פוּ עוֹד֙ שְׂנֹ֣א אֹת֔וֹ עַל־חֲלֹֽמֹתָ֖יו וְעַל־דְּבָרָֽיו:"

Why does it say that hated him because of his dreams if seemingly at this point he only told them one dream?

2 Answers 2


Rabbeinu Avraham ben HaRambam (ad loc.) says verse 8 is also including Yosef's second dream (which isn't described until verse 9) as a cause for the brothers' additional hatred. Verse 8 anticipates the effect of the second dream in order to be more economical with language by aggregating the sources of the brothers' additional hatred into the earlier verse:

אע״פ שלא נזכר עד כאן אלא חלום אחד סיפור הכתוב שהם שנאו אותו על שני החלומות זה ושאחריו כדי שלא יצטרך להזכיר את השנאה עוד הפעם בחלום השני שהזכיר בו ויקנאו בו אחיו ולא חזר להזכיר את שנאתם

Radak (ad loc.) echoes this, and also mentions an alternative that verse 8 is referring to other dreams of Yosef's that aren't specified in the text:

אולי חלם גם כן פעם אחרת קודם זה החלום ולא זכר הכתוב אלא שני החלומות שהיו מבוארים. או אמר חלומותיו על זה ועל הבאים אחריו, וחלומותיו שאמר הוא ספור הכתוב

The Da'as Z'keinim (ad loc.) offers essentially the same two possibilities, although (as Yaak Ov observes in a comment below) it is possible that the Da'as Z'keinim means that Yosef repeatedly told the brothers the dream of the sheaves, rather than multiple different dreams:

וא״ת והלא עדיין לא סיפר להם כי אם חלום אחד י״ל שנכתב המקרא על שם העתיד לספר להם חלום אחר אי נמי בשביל שספרו להם תמיד כתב חלומותיו

The S'forno (ad loc.) seems to suggest that verse 8 uses the plural to refer to Yosef's continued hopes and dreams that the details of his first dream would come to fruition (although it is possible he merely means that the plural is used to refer to the multiple elements of the first dream):

על פרטי החלום שספר כמיחל שיתקיימו בו

Or HaChayim (ad loc.) indicates that verse 8 uses plural to refer to the multiple elements contained within Yosef's first dream:

לפי מה שפירשתי שלא היה אלא חלום אחד טעם אומרו על חלומותיו לשון רבים להיות שהיו בחלומו הרבה פרטים קמה אלומתי א׳ וגם נצבה ב׳ והנה תסובינה וגו׳ לזה אמר ל׳ רבים

R' Ovadya miBartenura (עמר נקא, B'reishis 37:5, h/t Reb User6591) suggests that verse 8 also refers to one of Yosef's early dreams that was not specified in the text but was potentially alluded to by Rashi (B'reishis 50:211), that "ten candles cannot extinguish one candle":

נ"ל שהחלום הראשון היה מה שאמר רש"י בסוף פרשת ויחי עשרה נרות לא יכלו לכבות נר אחד כלומר שלא יכלו להזיקו וזה החלום לא חשש הכתוב להוציאו כי מזה לא אמרו (האחים) דבר רק ששנאו אותו אבל כשאמר שיהיה מושל עליהם אז חששו לדבריו וענו אותו ולכך אמר אחר כך על חלמתיו לשון רבים ששנים היו חלום הנרות והאלומים וזה החלום הראשון נתקיים כשהשליכו אותו אל הבור

1See also M'gilla 16b: "וינחם אותם וידבר על לבם אמר רבי בנימין בר יפת אמר רבי אלעזר מלמד שאמר להם דברים שמתקבלין על הלב ומה עשרה נרות לא יכלו לכבות נר אחד נר אחד היאך יכול לכבות עשרה נרות"

  • 1
    Bartenura says the dream in pasuk 5 was the first dream which wasn't elaborated, followed by two other dreams, similar to Radak but more definitively. He says the actual dream may have been what Rashi mentions in Vayechi about ten flanges being unable to extinguish one flame.
    – user6591
    Dec 12, 2022 at 12:47
  • @user6591 Thanks! I added it in.
    – Fred
    Dec 13, 2022 at 3:36
  • 1
    Cool! I'd upvote again if I could:) Funny how you can read the same pesukim year after year and then all of a sudden something jumps out at you that you've never noticed. I had that with these pesukim while being maavir sidra so I was happy to find that Bartenura and Or HaChaim and then I come here and see this great answer with more sources.
    – user6591
    Dec 13, 2022 at 4:55
  • Very nice answer. I'm still wondering if the daas zekeinim, with the words "שספרו להם תמיד" means that he kept telling them the same dream over again, or at least different details of it, or the other dream about the candles. But if it's about the candle dream why is that "constantly"? Were there even more dreams? Jan 2, 2023 at 7:46
  • @YakkOv That's a good point about the Da'as Z'keinim likely meaning that Yosef repeatedly related the single dream of the sheaves, and for that reason the verse calls it "dreams" (plural). As far as the "dream" of the candles, both the gemara and Rashi seem to imply it was a mere analogy, while the notion that it was a dream appears to be the chidush of R' 'Ovadya MiBartenura. In fact, the Da'as Z'keinim (B'reishis 50:21) indicates that it was an a fortiori argument raised by Yosef, implying it was likely not a dream.
    – Fred
    Jan 2, 2023 at 8:27

The sons of Jacob knew that Joseph was the favorite of their father for the love of Raquel their mother and for having given him the colorful tunic, a symbol of superiority over his brothers. When telling the dream, even if naively, the content was interpreted as an arrogance towards his brothers, that their future was to be subservient to Joseph.

  • Please cite any sources to back up your current answer.
    – Shmuel
    Dec 12, 2022 at 17:18
  • Well, as already answered, I just added that the brothers hated him more for the content than for the fact of dreaming itself, there is no better explanation for the issue of dreams in the plural than anticipating what the text was going to deal with next, there is also the possibility of him having contact with other dreams before but it was pointless at that moment to bring it up.
    – Thales
    Dec 12, 2022 at 17:42

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .