Between Dreams and Reality

Yael Eckstein  |  May 17, 2024

Women in a black shirt kissing her daughter on the cheek.

By wisdom a house is built,
    and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled
    with rare and beautiful treasures.
— Proverbs 24:3-4

We continue with devotional thoughts from the Book of Proverbs every Friday. One of the 11 books in the Torah known as the Ketuvim, Hebrew for “writings,” Proverbs is part of the “wisdom tradition,” which also includes Job and Ecclesiastes.

When my husband and I first met and fell in love, we, like all young couples, spent hours discussing our dreams for the future. And to tell you the truth, now that we live in Israel with our four wonderful children, I can honestly say that my dreams have come true. But that doesn’t mean that our life now is exactly as I pictured it all those years ago. Dreams come true, but almost never in exactly the way we picture them.

And it’s not just in marriage and raising a family. When we first decided to move to Israel, as much as we knew that the homeland of the Jewish people was where we wanted to raise our family, that doesn’t mean it was easy or worked out in the way we originally planned.

Life is like that. As the old Yiddish expression says, “Man plans and God laughs.” Hopefully, when all is said and done, we laugh along with Him.

Between Dreams and Reality

Proverbs teaches us about finding happiness in the balance between our original dreams and our reality. Our verse today reminds us that “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”

The word for “wisdom,” chochma, refers to the ideals and ideas that we come up with in our minds. “Understanding,” binah, is from the Hebrew word boneh, meaning “to build.” The Jewish commentaries teach that “understanding” refers to the practical reality. To put it another way, wisdom is the abstract idea. Understanding refers to what is actually possible, in the real world.

“Knowledge,” da’at in Hebrew, is the final product, the result of adjusting our dreams to the realities of life. This makes sense if you think about it. Knowledge is what actually exists. It’s what is true. Ideas and dreams are important. They give us a picture of what our highest ideals are. But then we must have the “understanding” to adjust to reality and whatever circumstances God throws our way.

When we embrace the changes in our plans and wisely use what God has given us, we find happiness in the balance between our dreams and reality, and ultimately peace in “rooms filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”

Your Turn:

Think about your own dreams and plans. How has God directed your steps to bring you to where you are today?