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

llustration by Yoseph Savan based on The Zohar

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

There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it is prevalent among men. A man whom God gives riches and property and honor, and his soul lacks nothing of all he desires, and God gives him no power to eat of it, but a strange man eats it; this is vanity and a grievous malady. (Ecclesiastes 6:1-2)

King Solomon reminds us that evil is only the reference that God created for us to choose goodness, in order to exercise free will and remain free, for goodness is our freedom.

Evil continues to be prevalent as long as we live in the duality from which we have to make choices all the time.

Thus we approach life with the ethical principle that orders goodness when we are before positive and negative, true and false, constructive and destructive, useful and useless, delightful and awful, sweet and bitter, joy and sadness, et al.
We have said that goodness is the origin, cause, reason and purpose of God’s creation. It is what we pursue and find in all that God gives us as possessions, “property, riches and honor”, and from which we don’t lack nothing, except for the “strange” or alien thought, desire, coveting or lust triggered by ego’s fantasies and illusions that are just the vanities that become the maladies of our attachments, obsessions and addictions.
Should a man beget one hundred [children] and live many years, and he will have much throughout the days of his years, but his soul will not be sated from all the good, neither did he have burial. I said that the stillborn is better than he. For he comes in vanity and goes in darkness, and in darkness his name is covered. (6:3-4)
In our vanities, no matter the plenitude and fulfillment that we may acquire in this world as something supposedly good, without real goodness we will never be sated.

Whatever we make ourselves believe as good, coming from materialistic desires, we still live in the darkness of the vanities that become our “name” as who we are and what we pursue.

Moreover, he did not see the sun nor did he know [it]; this one has more gratification than that one. And if he had lived a thousand years twice and experienced no pleasure, do not all go to one place? All of a person’s toil is for his mouth, and is the appetite not yet sated? (6:5-7)
These verses make us aware of the repetitive patterns of the vanities that are the vexation of our soul, trapped in their cycles and returning to the same place. What we say usually reflects our desires, for which we toil and their futility is the reason of our non-satisfaction.

Ariel 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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