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

Jewish Prophecy

Illustration by Yoseph Savan based on The Zohar

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

Two are better than one, since they have good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his friend, but woe to the one who falls and has no second one to lift him up. Moreover, if two lie down, they will have warmth, but how will one have warmth?

(Ecclesiastes 4:9-11)

Generosity and compassion give sense and meaning to life in a world where we all depend on each other for our individual and collective goodness. In this understanding and approach we are constantly rewarded, for goodness is its own reward. Thus we also assimilate that pursuing goodness is the main purpose of life as a learning process.

We come to know goodness in contrast to anything different or opposed to it, for it is the only way to live it, value, protect and defend it. Thus we see goodness as a source we must turn into a reservoir for the times when our own goodness is challenged and threatened by the negative traits and trends triggered by a selfish approach to life. The latter is the “one way street” mentality that depends on goodness but does not provide it, for such mentality leads only to death and destruction.

And if a man prevails against the one, the two will stand against him, and a three- stranded cord will not quickly be broken. (4:12)

In our unity lies our strength. The more we are bond to each other, the better we can face and overcome our challenges as well as confronting and defeating our enemies. This principle must be applied to our own levels and dimensions of consciousness.

Discernment must lead our thoughts to focus on goodness in order to strengthen our emotions and feelings, and be able to direct our speech and actions toward good deeds. Goodness must be the unifying tread of all aspects and expressions of life, as the eternal bond with our Creator.

Better a poor and wise child than an old and foolish king, who no longer knows to receive admonition. For out of the prison he has come to reign, for even in his kingdom he becomes humble. (4:13-14)

Humility is an expression of wisdom, for only true wisdom can make us humble. The first verse refers to the “poor” as one who needs less, and his fulfillment does not depend on material possessions that he has to care for and protect, as a king who rules over a nation.

Foolishness is related to lack of wisdom or plain ignorance, which makes us unable or incapable to discern between the ways and attributes of goodness, and the traits and trends of ego’s fantasies and illusions that never accept or respond to admonitions.

In this sense the foolishness derived from ignorance is the prison from which the fool carries his life. Once we learn from the failures and falls due to ignorance and from the foolishness of materialistic fantasies and illusions, we become humble enough with sufficient wisdom to rule life as our own individual kingdom.

 

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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