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“And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership… but the chief baker he hanged, as Yosef had interpreted to them.” (40:21,22)

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In what way did Yosef perceive a disparity between the two dreams?  Superficially, it seems that the chief baker and the chief butler dreamed similar dreams. What in the baker’s dream implied impending doom for him? What distinguishing feature of the butler’s dream alluded to life and restoration? Horav Elchanan Wasserman z.l., suggests the following insight. The baker’s dream did not represent actual activity on his part.  Baskets were filled with bread and food, the uppermost one resting upon his head while birds ate the bread. The baker seems to have played a theoretical part in this dream. He did absolutely nothing!  One who performs no activity, who is static, is not viewed as being alive.

Conversely, the butler’s dream reflected pragmatic activity on his part. In relating his dream, the butler says, “And Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes, and I pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand.” In his dream, the butler appears to be a man of vitality and accomplishment.  One who is dynamic, who moves and progresses, is alive. This simple distinction reflects a completely new perspective regarding each dreamer.

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