Ariel Ben Avraham – Ecclesiastes: The illusion of vanity and the reality of love (X)
“And I saw that there is nothing better [lit. good] that man to rejoice in his deeds, for that is his portion, for who will bring him to see what will be after him?”
Goodness must characterize all the deeds of a man in his life, for goodness is his portion for him to rejoice. We know the saying “do good and don’t look back”, for goodness knows its ways and purpose and it doesn’t depend on our control. Goodness suffices itself and serves itself. We are only the means or vehicles of goodness, and this by itself is our own reward.
“Who is rich? He who is happy with his lot.” (Pirkei Avot 4:1)
Our sages teach us that humility is the vessel for goodness, which means that we don’t own it because it owns us. In this sense we are not supposed to “see what will be after”. In the same way, we should not have expectations for being a vessel for goodness. As we have said, goodness is its own reward.
This verse teaches us that goodness is the object of our pleasure and delight, for we rejoice in its ways and attributes derived from God’s love. King Solomon reiterates that goodness is the only reason to live, and the opposite of the vanity and futility of ego’s fantasies and illusions.
“But I returned and saw all the oppression [of those] who are made [so] under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they have no comforter, and from the hand of their oppressors there is power, but they have no comforter.” (Ecclesiastes 4:1)
We must search for the causes of our oppression in this world, and also the ways and means of our liberation as the “comforter” that we yearn for.
We may have people that oppress us or force us to do things against our will, for different reasons. There are also other causes for afflictions that we inflict on ourselves, such as addictions, attachments and obsessions that have a negative impact on our thoughts, emotions or in our physical body. The separation from goodness as our bond with the Creator is our greatest affliction.
“Her filthiness has been in her skirts, she didn’t remember her latter end. Therefore she comes down astonishingly, she has no comforter. See, O Lord, my affliction; for the enemy has magnified himself.”
King Solomon invites us to reflect on the sources of vanity as the fantasies and illusions derived from beliefs or feelings of lack. In any case, we must compel ourselves to return to the reality of love with the goodness of its ways and attributes once we become fully aware of the illusion of vanity.
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.