Ariel Ben Avraham – Ecclesiastes: The illusion of vanity and the reality of love (V)
Ecclesiastes: The illusion of vanity and the reality of love (V)
“That there is no remembrance to the wise — with the fool — through the ages, for that which is already in the days that are coming is all forgotten. And how the wise dies? With the fool! And I have hated life, for sad to me is the work that has been done under the sun, for the whole is vanity and vexation of spirit.”
Our wisdom doesn’t help us as long as we make foolish choices that will never make us remembered by the next generations. Again king Solomon reproaches himself for engaging in materialistic fantasies and desires as vanities that undermine the true purpose of life and the spirit that keeps it alive.
“I hated all my labor in which I labored under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who comes after me. And who knows whether he is wise or foolish? Yet he rules over all my work that I have labored at, and that I have done wisely under the sun! Also this is vanity. And I turned round to cause my heart to despair concerning all the work that I labored at under the sun.” (2:18-20)
The wise Jewish king calls our awareness in regards to the attention we give to riches and possessions, for which we labor in the material world. We are not able to take them with us after we die, and unequivocally will end up in the hands of others that may or may not be as wise as we thought that we were. Hence we have to focus in what really matters in life for its immediate fulfillment, and not to future circumstances in which we are not sure that we will be.
This does not mean that we should not prepare for the next days, weeks and years in terms of our needs and endeavors. The idea here is to avoid ego’s fantasies and illusions that lead us to situations that we will regret later because of our vanity. King David also reminds us this.
“Surely every man walks wandering as a ghost, surely they make an uproar for nothing. He amasses riches and does not know who will gather them. (…) For he sees that even wise men die. The stupid and the senseless alike perish and leave their wealth to others.”
(Psalms 39:6, 49:10)
We must be aware that we are the measure of our portion and circumstances. Our portion is who we are, what we have, and our relationship with God, and the latter determine the former. Our individual and collective duty is to know that goodness is our essence and true identity, and also our bond with God. When goodness is the cause, the reference and the purpose of human life, goodness also will be who we are and what we have, for it is God’s will for us.
“For there is a man whose labor is in wisdom and in knowledge and in equity, and to a man who has not labored therein he gives it — his portion! Even this is vanity and a great evil. For what has been to a man by all his labor, and by the thought of his heart that he labored at under the sun? For all his days are sorrows, and his travail sadness; even at night his heart takes no rest. This also is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 2:21-23)
We are reminded constantly that goodness doesn’t dwell with anything different from its ways and attributes. The first of these two verses remark that giving the works of wisdom and knowledge to the undeserving is like feeding wickedness with goodness. This is not only vain and futile but also a great evil. Hence we have to seriously consider for what and for whom we labor every day, so later we won’t regret with sorrows and sadness all that we wasted on our temporary fantasies and illusions.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.” (Psalms 127:1-2)
We have to build our consciousness (“the house”) with the goodness God wants us to be, to have and manifest in life. If we build it on materialistic desires, we will labor in vain and all we do to fulfill ego’s fantasies and illusions will be the bread of all our efforts. Once we enthrone goodness in all levels and dimensions of consciousness, goodness will be with us even in our sleep.
Ariel Ben Avraham’s book on the Jewish conception of God’s love according to the Hebrew Scriptures and Jewish theology. How we relate to God’s love as our common bond with Him. You can order the book directly from the author at firstname.lastname@example.org. From the book: “Let’s be aware that we are emanated from God’ love. Whatever we are and have come from Him and it is His, including the love that we are and give. Love is our essence and identity.”
Kochav Yaakov, Shomron (Samaria), IsraelAriel Ben Avraham (f. Zapata) was born in Cartagena, Colombia in 1958. After studying Cultural Anthropology in Bogotá moved to Chicago in 1984 where he worked as a television writer, reporter and producer for 20 years. In the 1990’s he produced video documentaries related to art, music, history and culture such as “Latin American Trails: Guatemala” distributed by Facets.org. Most of his life he studied ancient spiritual traditions and mysticism of major religions, understanding the mystic experience as the individual means to connect with the Creator of all. Since 2004 he studies and writes about Jewish mysticism and spirituality mainly derived from the Chassidic tradition, and the practical philosophy of the teachings of Jewish mystic sages. The book “God’s Love” is the compilation of many years studying and learning Jewish mysticism. The messages of his book are part of the content, exercises and processes of a series of seminars, lectures and retreats that he facilitates in Israel.