Posting for another friend.

When does Lashon Hakodesh (throughout Tanach) use "ויחלם" (and he dreamed") by itself and when is "ויחלם חלום" ("and he dreamed a dream") used?
It seems that most of the time in Tanach, the double usage is found, and if so, why? (This is essentially part of the above question.)

Some examples of the first case:
- Bereishis 28:12
- Bereishis 41:5

Some examples of the second case:
- Bereishis 40:5
- Devarim 13:2
- Shoftim 7:13
- Daniel 2:1

  • 2
    Perhaps in the second you know that you are dreaming. Commented Dec 29, 2017 at 13:08
  • Nope. Wouldn't explain Paroh (Bereishis 41:5), who knew he was dreaming. Commented Dec 29, 2017 at 13:28
  • Very astute question. I'm trying to see if there's some patter, here - so far, I don't see it. But, have a look at Midrash cited in Rash"i on Breishit 40:5. Before I even viewed Rash"i, I sensed that the phrase Chalom Shneihem was meant as a single phrase which carries a different meaning. Point is, according to Midrash, this may not be a good example of a pattern. Or, maybe the others have something similar going on? I haven't viewed all of them yet. Just mentioning something to consider, here.
    – DanF
    Commented Dec 29, 2017 at 14:33
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    @AlBerko I don't think we can answer that it is for emphasis in all of these cases. Commented Dec 30, 2017 at 23:59
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    Should it be noted that this question was subsequently asked and answered on another StackExchange site?
    – Alex
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 22:39

2 Answers 2


I have a feeling that the double expression is used in a similar way as the rhetorical device known as "epizeuxis" (See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epizeuxis). Rashi alludes to this idea in his commentary on Genesis 22:11 in which he comments that the doubling of Avraham's name is a sign of affection. Perhaps one could argue that in each of the cases of the double language of יחלום חלום the dream being dreamt is particularly dear to the dreamer or important to the narrative; whereas when the single expression יחלום is used the dream is not central to the narrative or a as of yet of unknown meaning and therefore not particularly dear to the dreamer.

  • I'm no scholar and I don't mean to pick nits in your answer, but I don't think this is like epizeuxis in form or usage. It never comes in the form of exact repetition of a word, like "Avraham | Avraham", and in fact cannot because the two words in a "cognate accusative" pattern occupy different parts of speech. Furthermore, I think Rashi is saying in the Avraham example that God expressed chiba that way to Avraham, not that it was recorded that way to demonstrate chiba to the reader. Also, the dream doubling doesn't seem to appear more in oratory contexts than others.
    – WAF
    Commented Jan 1, 2019 at 11:40

Seems to me that when it is doubled, the phrase is referring to the act of dreaming itself, regardless of the content. When it is singular, the content of the dream is described, therefore, it is dealing directly with the content of the dream, as opposed to the doubled instances. Shoftim: There are two topics. The fact that he dreamt, and the content of the dream, and that is why it says twice והנה. Daniel: He is referring only to the act of dreaming.

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    – mbloch
    Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 3:02

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