I had a dream where I was faced with a difficult challenge to break halacha or not, and I was able to overcome the temptation and follow halacha.

My question is, does a person receive a reward for overcoming tests while in a dream? I'm asking more specifically about nisyonos and not mitzvos, as I'm thinking perhaps the inherent challenge felt in the dream is more valuable. Someone who happens to be dreaming about wearing tefillin I view differently than someone who wanted to eat non-kosher, but then actively chose not to.

Somewhat related: learning in a lucid dream

  • 1
    Kiddushin 40a: "אָמַר רַב אַסִּי אֲפִילּוּ חָשַׁב אָדָם לַעֲשׂוֹת מִצְוָה וְנֶאֱנַס וְלֹא עֲשָׂאָהּ מַעֲלֶה עָלָיו הַכָּתוּב כְּאִילּוּ עֲשָׂאָהּ".
    – Fred
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 17:58
  • 1
    @Fred that's while awake though
    – robev
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 18:33
  • True, but one might extend the principle to a decision made in a dream.
    – Fred
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 23:55
  • 2
    If dreams reflect subconscious thought, then you can be proud that even in your deep subconscious you have deeply embedded within yourself the desire to keep the Torah to the best of your ability. Kudos to you! Commented Apr 4, 2023 at 17:14
  • Berakhot 57a "העונה 'יהא שמיה רבא מברך' מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא, הקורא קריאת שמע ראוי שתשרה עליו שכינה אלא שאין דורו זכאי לכך, המניח תפילין בחלום יצפה לגדולה... המתפלל בחלום סימן יפה לו, והני מילי דלא סיים, הבא על אמו בחלום יצפה לבינה... הבא על נערה מאורסה יצפה לתורה... הבא על אחותו בחלום יצפה לחכמה... הבא על אשת איש בחלום מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא, והני מילי דלא ידע לה ולא הרהר בה מאורתא". A related question: "Dreaming of doing a sin".
    – Tamir Evan
    Commented Apr 4, 2023 at 18:52

4 Answers 4


Made an account just to answer this question, so I apologize if I don't adhere to the site rules.

The Ben Ish Chai famously discusses this question from the opposite perspective.

He was asked in Rav Poalim, if someone who sins in their dream needs to do teshuva. I don't recall the exact location of the responsa, and a quick Google turned up a couple articles and a citation (Volume 2,Yoreh De'ah, Chapter 32).

I believe that he says, that if you dream of doing a sin (for example you dream of eating pork) you should do some level of teshuva. But if just dream "I sinned" (in your dream you know you ate pork) or you dream of an action that could be a sin (for example, going to sleep Friday night and dreaming of writing) it doesn't mean anything. He doesn't say a person would get punished for the dream sin, perhaps it's more of a sign of spiritual deterioration.

It sounds like in your dream you actually dreamt of doing a mitzva; I think the Ben Ish Chai would say midah tovah m'ruba and it's certainly a good thing. I don't know though if you would receive reward for it, but perhaps its a sign of being in a good place.

  • Amazing source thanks for your contribution and welcome! Maybe a mashal is like this. Imagine I told my wife I had a dream where I was being seduced and I resisted. Would I get any "reward" from my wife? Probably not, she might even wonder why I am dreaming about being seduced but she will still view it as overall positive that I resisted.
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Apr 4, 2023 at 20:25

Let's take Rambam's approach (Moreh Nevuchim 2:42) that the episode of Avraham being visited by the three men/angels (Bereishit 18) was a dream. Further, note that Chazal view the various assistances provided to the Children of Israel in the wilderness to be consequences of Avraham's actions in this episode (e.g. Bava Metzia 86b). If we combine these, we can conclude that one can indeed receive rewards for dream-decisions.

(Whether this method of blending differing approaches to the text is legitimate or a case of sha'atnez, is left as an exercise for the reader.)

  • That's more mitzivah observance than overcoming temptation, but I guess it would be a kal vachomer
    – robev
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 11:10
  • I guess. Note also that there's some subtle implied criticism of Avraham in the gemara - contrasting those things he did himself, with those for which he used a shaliach. So it seems that there is some element of nisayon/choice/decision-making going on in this dream.
    – Joel K
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 11:16
  • "Let's take Rambam's approach (Moreh Nevuchim 2:42) that the episode of Avraham being visited by the three men/angels (Bereishit 18) was a dream." Where do you see it say that? In Ibn Tibon's translation, it says "שמאמר אברהם 'ויאמר אדוני אם נא מצאתי חן בעיניך אל נא תעבור מעל עבדך' – שהוא גם כן סיפור מה שאמר ב׳מראה הנבואה׳ לאחד מהם". In Friedlander's translation, it says: "that the words of Abraham, 'My Lord, if now I have found grace in thy sight, do not, I pray thee, pass from thy servant,' were spoken by him in a prophetic vision to one of the men."
    – Tamir Evan
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 7:55
  • @TamirEvan what is the difference between a prophetic vision and a [prophetic] dream. Rambam seems to more or less equate the two at the beginning and end of that chapter.
    – Joel K
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 9:54
  • @JoelK "what is the difference between a prophetic vision and a [prophetic] dream" (a) I don't know, but that doesn't mean there is no difference. (b) Where did you say Rambam was talking there about a prophetic dream? (c) There are dreams that are not prophetic (Berakhot 55b), and the question doesn't seem to be talking about prophetic dreams. How does what you wrote answer the question?
    – Tamir Evan
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 11:39

Let's take a logical approach, followed by some sources.

I would submit that we do not have free will in our dreams. I would also submit that if dreams were a valid ground for testing us, then real-life tests would be redundant, which would lead to inconvenient conclusions, i.e. that it is unnecessary.

The standard notion of a test involves a real life situation with real life consequences. If we fail, someone gets hurt, sometimes badly. If it were possible to accomplish the same in a dream, then real life tests would be an unnecessary evil.

There is no reason to presume we have free will in a dream. Only when we have explicit examples of genuinely prophetic dreams like Rambam (which is highly disputed among Rishonim), can we make a single-case presumption that he had real free will. Otherwise, we should view dreams as nothing but cloudy, static-filled noise.

As Ramchal states in Derech Hashem 3:1:6, most dreams do contain a small element of truth and prophecy, but so little that it is irrelevant to most people as it's too hard to pick out the true bits from the noise. If one has a dream, Chazal ask us to go to someone to interpret it for the good, and the meaning goes on the interpretation (Berachot Perek 9)1.

At most, view dreams as insight to where one is at. Without actually performing an action, a Jew is not held accountable as if he sinned (see Kiddushin 40a2), and a dream is just an intention at best, and even that is dubious as we haven't got proof there is free will in dreams. So at most - and this is a stretch - take it as a warning that one still has some temptations and risks in a certain area and if the situation would arise, a part of them is in danger of repeating the performance that occurred in the dream. The same goes in the converse as well; if someone surpasses a test in a dream, then great, take the confidence boost, but don't read too much into it or relax in that area.

I say at most, but try to not interpret it that way. Dreams are too full of noise and rubbish and made up situations that may or may not reflect reality. Take a few steps to try to improve in those areas but otherwise don't lose sleep over it.

If one is concerned, go and speak to one's LOR for advice, and say some tehillim or recommended berachot, found in many siddurim (often near the mi-sheberach sections, or in the "additional supplication" sections), and then forget about it and continue as always, trying to keep the mitzvot as best as you can. See here for more information on this. Hatzlacha.

1 - in that spirit, may the dream you had be nothing but a good siman!
2 - although it is if it is a positive mitzva, so IF there is free will, then perhaps this would be an interesting avenue to explore regarding your question, notwithstanding the rest of the points being made here

  • "The standard notion of a test involves a real life situation with real life consequences" - Not all tests involve real life consequences, and still a smaller subset involve people getting hurt. Examples: a test to avoid eating non-kosher, or to resist performing some melacha on Shabbos. And if we get a bit more philosophical - is "reality" in "real life" an ontological truth in Judaism? For all we know, life could be a simulation (ala 'the matrix'), and I'm not sure that's inconsistent with Judaism.
    – user9806
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 21:37
  • @user9806 amazing questions! Thanks so much for reading and asking. I'll respond to your first by saying maybe there might be some examples of nobody getting hurt, but in the vast majority, even if there is no fellow human, there is still oneself, and Hashem (and Kabbalistically, everything we do affects the whole world...). As for your second point, that's a separate point, and I believe that there is a gemara that deals with it, I just can't remember. The maskana is that reality is not an illusion
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 21:43
  • Interesting - if you find that Gemara let me know. I think it’s a pretty fascinating topic in its own right, and so probably deserves a question of its own. If you think about it, what we experience as reality has to be an illusion, if we accept that nothing exists aside from G-d and He is the true ultimate reality (behind our perceived reality). And if so, our lives are a simulation in that sense.
    – user9806
    Commented Apr 4, 2023 at 4:13
  • @user9806 sure I'll look it up bli neder. There is a whole course on this at JLI. I can send you a 2 hour shiur if you want. The philosophers, litvish and chassidish explain that there are two perspectives, El De'ot etc. Indeed, needs to be a question in its own right
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Apr 4, 2023 at 8:08
  • @user9806 been meaning to get back to you for ages. The gemara is brought right in the very first paragraph of this this shiur, which I believe I mentioned to you before?: youtube.com/watch?v=2Fsc4XxNPPk
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Oct 6, 2023 at 17:01

If such a dream was allowed by Hashem for His good purpose, a good reward could be a readiness to avoid similar temptation in real life when it comes. Maybe you will be tested, and you will remember the dream. Psalm 11:5.

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