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A Wallet Not Your Own

Rodger Kamenetz interprets your dreams

The Editors
December 02, 2010
(Ravi Joshi/Tablet Magazine)
(Ravi Joshi/Tablet Magazine)

Rodger Kamenetz, author of Nextbook Press’s Burnt Books: Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav and Franz Kafka, is also a dream therapist. This week, between the two Torah portions in which Joseph interprets dreams, Kamenetz responds to questions about dreams submitted by Tablet Magazine readers.

I dreamt that I found the wallet of a friend while standing in a lobby of a building. The most notable feature of the wallet is that the address was plainly visible and the address was 44th Street. The address was of great interest to me; however, I do not know why. The wallet was in a satchel and at the bottom of the bag were ponytail holders and swimming goggles. I tried to give the items back to the owner, but I woke up before I knew whether I had contacted them to return the items. I remembered the dream clearly when I woke up, which I seldom do.


Marcy, I’m a little confused about the “friend.” Male or female? What is your relationship to the friend? How do you feel about the friend? “Wallet” is gender-ambiguous, and I suppose so are “ponytail holders.” But I’ll just assume your friend is female—in a session, I’d ask you. And also, more importantly, how do you feel about this friend? What’s your current relationship? That’s pretty important and you don’t say. Nor do you say how you feel about not having contacted the person to return the items.

Unfortunately—and this is Freud’s damage to us—most people read dreams as secret messages. They want “ponytail holders” to be symbolic and the number 44 to have a hidden Kabbalistic meaning. Well, they might, but that’s not where I’d start. Primarily, dreams display feelings and relationships, so it’s actually important to record that part. I don’t know why the address is of interest, and it may not be, except insofar as it’s your friend’s address. Maybe something happened there … that’s an association I’d want to know. Or your focus on it may be you being distracted by your head instead of knowing what you are feeling.

I see a similar issue with “tried to give the items back.” Not sure how you “try” to do that. It seems you either give the items back, or you don’t. This place where you get fuzzy is a place where you are thinking more than you are feeling. My suggestion is: Imagine giving the wallet back to your friend—and tell me how that feels or what comes up for you.

From the editors of Tablet Magazine.