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

llustration by Yoseph Savan based on The Zohar

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

“I saw all [in] one that walks under the sun, with the second child who will rise in his stead. There is no end to all the people, to all that were before them; also the last ones will not rejoice with him, for this too is vanity and frustration.”

(Ecclesiastes 4:15-16)

As long as we “walk under the sun”, which means in this material world, we are bound to live by our choices every time we are able to exercise free will. We set our boundaries based on our ability to discern between good and evil, and the priorities derived from either living in the ways and attributes of goodness or living in ego’s fantasies and illusions.
In times of distress we have to maintain the awareness that the goodness coming from God’s love is our freedom, as the psalmist says.
“Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my redemption. I wait for You all day long. Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation. I wait for You all day long. Remember Your compassion, O Lord, and Your loving kindness, for they are eternal.”

(Psalms 25:4-5)
Once our priorities and choices are made, we are bound to them and live by and for them. Every action or creation (including having children) are also ruled by them, and continue to rule under their predicament of vanity and frustration. Our sages also call “children” deeds and inventions to tell us that all our actions have consequences, and we better think more than about what the real priorities and choices in life. Thus we end up realizing that what really matters is goodness as our true sustenance, fulfillment and joy.
“Watch your feet when you go to the house of God, and be ready to obey rather than fools should give sacrifice, for they know not that they do evil.”

(Ecclesiastes 4:17)
We indicate often that the “house” represents our consciousness and what we have in it or put in it. In this verse, “the house of God” encompasses ways and attributes that He wants to share with us as part of our essence and identity.
“Send forth Your light and Your truth. May they lead me, they bring me onto the mount of Your holiness and on Your dwellings. And I go unto the altar of God, unto God, the joy of my rejoicing. And I thank You with a harp, O Lord, my God.” (Psalms 43:3-4)

Coming to His house means to engage ourselves in all forms and expressions of goodness, peace, grace, compassion, slowness to anger, abundant loving kindness and truth, as traits and qualities with which God directs His creation and relates to it (see God’s attributes of compassion in Exodus 34:6-7). These are the light and truth that lead us to Him.
In order to have a life inspired, sustained and directed by these attributes as our common bond with our Creator, we have to “watch our feet” by letting our discernment and judgment to embrace constantly all expressions of goodness in every choice that we make. We live in God’s house by following (“obeying”) the principles that bind us to Him.

Ariel Ben Avraham

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 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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