This is something I wrote for David Werdiger’s excellent “Jews of the CBD” organisation, so it’s reproduced here, for posterity.
We pine to know what the future brings. Yet, there is no prophecy in our day. Why? Prophecy provides a temporal glimpse or mirroring of the essence of God and His message. By definition, that transmission must be imperfect, for we are imperfect vessels. What of dreams and their interpretation? In this week’s portion, we see that even Yosef’s interpretation of his famous dream was not accurate because his mother Rachel did not bow down to him. Does this make Yosef a charlatan? Can there be a half truth? We know that the remainder of Yosef’s dream did come true.
Rav Kook explains that the essence was true. The essence is immutable. If Rachel had been alive, then she indeed would have bowed down to Yosef in the same way that Ya’acov did. A dream’s message relates to what potentially could or should have occurred given the confines of human imperfection and condition. Rav Hisda in Brachos 55a says this explicitly. Although we seek advice from the special leaders of our generation, sometimes we find that their predictions are not 100% accurate. But, it needs to be that way because man is an imperfect vessel for the transmission of God’s will. The challenge is to deal with and act on the messages of our time.
For this reason, those who cannot bring themselves to acknowledge that the State of Israel may well be the “beginning” of our redemption because certain minutiae are challenging to reconcile, miss the transcendent and essential message of our time.