ARIEL BEN AVRAHAM – ECCLESIASTES: THE ILLUSION OF VANITY AND THE REALITY OF LOVE (XXVII)
“So I commended mirth, that a man has no better thing under the sun than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry, and that this should accompany him in his labor all the days of his life which God has given him under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 8:15)
One of the essential messages of the Kohelet is brought back to emphasize that we must approach life with and for the goodness that God commands us to enjoy in this world. Being, doing and pursuing goodness is our daily labor in this material world under the sun.
“When I applied my heart to know wisdom and to see the business that is done upon the earth, for neither day nor night do men see sleep with their eyes; then I beheld all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun; because though a man labors to seek it out, yet he shall not find it. Yea further, though a wise man thinks to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it.” (8:16-17)
The encompassing commandment to pursuing goodness with its ways, means, attributes and expressions is what matters to us, for in these we are strengthened to fulfill the labor of complying with what God wants for us which is our well being. There is no other better labor than that, for God’s works are unfathomable by human discernment.
In this awareness, we realize that goodness is enough for itself, and there is no need or profit to look for it beyond the realm where God planted us.
“For all this I laid to my heart, even to make clear all this: that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God; whether it be love or hatred, man knows it not; all is before them.” (9:1)
This is one of the most profound messages of Kohelet, for it is about the connection that human goodness has with God’s goodness. In this awareness all our good actions speak for themselves, for these are the purpose of the goodness from where they come. Indeed goodness loves positive and constructive actions, and rejects or hates all that oppose them.
Thus we understand that rejecting negative traits, trends and expressions is inherent in true love and goodness. In this context “all” is what is available for us to deal with the right approach, which is goodness for the sake of it.
“All things come alike to all; there is one event to the righteous and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean and to the unclean; to him that offers sacrifices and to him that does not offer sacrifices; as is the good, so is the sinner, and he who has sworn as he that fears an oath.” (9:2)
All situations come to everyone, regardless the condition of each. The difference lies on how we approach them. Even for a good situation or positive action there is one who rather chooses to sin or transgress against it, and also one who chooses to act with the same goodness. The latter must do what is right to honor a promise or an oath, while the former prefers not to do it out lack of honor or commitment.
Kochav Yaakov, Shomron (Samaria), Israel 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 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.