Dream Gates

Dream Gates

Rabbi Zalman joins the Dream Assembly

- Dream AssemblyRabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi related a wonderful teaching story about interactive dreaming in The Dream Assembly.  A bunch of Hasidic rabbis are discussing the goals of prayer. Instead of joining the debate, Zalman says, “I would like all of you to join me in a dream tonight.” Then he immerses himself in prayer.

The others are confused. How can you join another person in a dream? Then someone remembers tales of rabbis who met each other in a “dream assembly” in former times. They used standard formulas in the prayer upon retiring to synchronize takeoff.


  1. “Grant that we lie down in peace O Lord” = all lie down.
  2. “And assist me with thy good counsel” = heads on pillow, ready to listen.
  3. “Guard our going out and our coming in” = close eyes, ready to embark on a dream.

Someone remembers the old mystical teaching that “those joined in prayer together will be joined together in a dream.”

That night (as the story relates mysteriously) the Hasidim lay down and closed their eyes “just as the Shekhinah turned to face herself in the mirror, and that night they met each other in a dream.”

The dream locale is an Otherworldly orchard full of beautiful but unfamiliar fruit, filled with unusual light, as if from an unseen sun. Only one remembers that Rabbi Zalman told them to meet him in a dream, and he does not tell the others for fear they’ll wake up. Instead, he simply reminds them they agreed to meet Zalman.


They find him under a tree. He’s younger and brighter. He refers to the difficulty of bringing them together — harder than finding - Reb_Zalman_2005and ascending a ladder to heaven. He speaks of how each generation requires a set of wings to carry its prayers to Sandalphon, who will weave them into garlands for the Holy One on his throne; each generation must create its own mystical dove. In the dream, he assigns his companions the role each will play in creating this mystical bird. They wake with the beautiful echo of birdsong in their minds; it returns every time they pray.


Text adapted from Dreamgates: Exploring the Worlds of Soul, Imagination and Life Beyond Death by Robert Moss. Published by New World Library.

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi,  considered the spiritual father of the Jewish Renewal movement —  who brought back ancient Judaic traditions of mysticism and meditation, gender equality and ecstatic prayer — passed on July 3, aged 89. May he fly with the great dove.

Previous Posts

Approaching Halloween: when the veil between the world thins
The hair salon on the corner advertises, "Halloween Makeup Done Here." There are spooks and scarecrows at the doors of the houses on my block. As we approach Halloween, I am thinking of the many meanings of the festival, from trick-or-treat to ...

posted 10:42:07am Oct. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Whatever you think or feel, the universe says Yes
Whatever you think or feel, the universe says yes. Perhaps you have noticed this. Yes, we are talking about the law of attraction. It is indeed an ancient law, never a secret to those who live consciously. “All things which are similar and ...

posted 1:33:33am Oct. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Why Dreaming Is Important
A dream is a wake-up call. It takes us beyond what we already know. Dreams are the language of the soul, and they are experiences of the soul. There are “big” dreams and “little” dreams, of course. In big dreams, we go traveling and ...

posted 12:20:30pm Oct. 24, 2015 | read full post »

Dream symbols - Excremental issues
"Shit is good!" The elderly Italian grocery store owner's eyes twinkled as she bagged tomatoes and homemade pasta. "If you crap in your dreams, it means money." Her reading is an ancient one, still alive in many family traditions. The ...

posted 3:15:14am Oct. 15, 2015 | read full post »

Aboriginal Dreaming into the Dreamtime
Aboriginal Australians believe that we dream our way into this world, and dream our way out of it. "We talk to the spirit-child before a baby is born," naturopath and traditional healer Burnham Burnham explained it to me. If the father-to-be ...

posted 9:00:10am Jul. 08, 2015 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.