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Ariel Ben Avraham – Ecclesiastes: The illusion of vanity and the reality of love (IX)

llustration by Yoseph Savan based on The Zohar

Ariel Ben Avraham – Ecclesiastes: The illusion of vanity and the reality of love (IX)

I knew that everything that God made, that will be forever; we cannot add to it, nor can we diminish from it; and God made it so that they revere Him. That which was is already [done], and that which is [destined] to be already was, and God seeks the pursued.(Ecclesiastes 3:14-15)

We are endlessly reminded that God’s creation is complete, total and wholesome, which makes it perfect and eternal as the goodness from which He made it. There is nothing to add or to diminish in goodness. Hence we realize that there is no lack or deficiency in the sufficiency of goodness as a sample of God’s magnificent awesomeness, for which we revere Him.

Do not add to the word which I command you, nor diminish from it, [in order] to observe the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” (Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32)
This perfection also belongs to the Torah as God’s will for His material creation, for goodness is the reason and purpose of His commandments as the plenitude and length of our days.

The second verse invites us to reflect on what we believe, imagine, invent or create, for these too come from our Creator. Thus we become aware that everything we are and do reflects what God has done for us to measure either the goodness He wants us to enjoy as our essence and true identity, or the vanity and futility of ego’s fantasies and illusions.

In the latter God seeks those who are pursued by their obsessions, attachments and addictions, to bring them back to the truth of what is really meaningful and transcendental in life.
And moreover, I saw under the sun, [in] the place of justice there is wickedness and [in] the place of righteousness, there is wickedness. I said to myself, ‘God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every deed there’. (Ecclesiastes 3:16-17)

In the material world “under the sun” the egocentric approach to life turns the truth in justice into the lie of wickedness, for evil corrupts righteousness by diverting its purpose. We have said that “cause and effect” is one of God’s rules in His creation as an ethical principle from which nothing escapes.

Oh, You let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, but establish the just; for the righteous God tries the hearts and reins. (Psalms 7:9)
Thus we understand His judgment of the righteous and the wicked. Goodness is the reward for those who do goodness, and the psalmist reminds us the predicament of the wicked that die by their evil.

I said to myself [that this is] because of the children of men, so that God should clarify for them, so that they may see that they are [like] beasts to themselves. For there is a happening for the children of men and there is a happening for the beasts. And they have one happening, like the death of this one is the death of that one. And all have one spirit, and the superiority of man over beast is nothing, for all is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 3:18-19)
King Solomon compares human negative emotions, destructive feelings and instincts to those of wild animals, for both share the same predicament and fate. In this sense man is not better than the beasts because their purpose in life is futile, meaningless and useless, making their survival vanity.

All go to one place; all came from the dust, and all return to the dust. Who knows that the spirit of the children of men is that which ascends on high and the spirit of the beast is that which descends below to the earth? (3:20-21)
Our sages relate dust to nothingness, non existence and death, and also as a place from where we are born and where we die. In regards to consciousness it represents stagnation and powerlessness to transcend the material world, which makes us equal to animal or vegetable life.

The verses invite us to ponder about the traits and qualities that help us transcend the limitations of matter represented by ego’s fantasies and illusions and their negative expressions. Also to reflect on the driving forces and trends that constrain animal life to a limited existence.

The message for us is to find the ways and means to elevate every aspect and level of consciousness up to the total freedom encompassed by the goodness emanated from love’s ways and attributes.

 

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 godaslove@gmail.com. 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.

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