Ariel Ben Avraham – Ecclesiastes: The illusion of vanity and the reality of love (XXIX)
“Enjoy life with the wife whom you loved all the days of the life of your vanity, which He has given you under the sun all the days of your vanity; for that is the portion in your life and in your work where you labored under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 9:9)
This is a profound statement that makes us aware of the complementary unity of man and woman, even in the midst of the vanities and futility of human life. There is an implicit enjoyment in this awareness, based on the fact that both genders belong to each other as the separate portions destined to live united in the labors that life demands in the material world under the sun.
“Whoever has found a wife has found goodness, and brings favor from the Lord.”
The verse is stated more as a commandment than an advice from King Solomon, which makes us reflect on the goodness that we enjoy in the completion we find with each other, for goodness is the culmination of such completion that God wants for us.
“Whatsoever your hand attained to do by your strength, do that; for there is no work, or device, or knowledge, or wisdom in the grave, where you go.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
Kohelet reminds us that doing and achieving as the result of knowing and understanding belong to the material world, for in the spiritual dimensions all is already known, understood, done and achieved.
“What profit is there in my destruction (lit. blood), if I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise You? Shall it declare Your truth?” (Psalms 30:9)
“For the grave cannot thank You, death cannot praise You. Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your faithfulness.”
In this context we understand that we live in this world because of goodness and for the sake of goodness, for which we praise God because is His truth. Thus we also realize that goodness is His faithfulness that keeps His creation alive.
“I returned, and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happened to them all. For man also does not know not his time as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; even so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falls suddenly upon them.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11-12)
These verses make us reflect on the combination of circumstances that surrounds life under the sun, called here “time and chance”. This reflection comes to consider that the vanity and futility of ego’s fantasies and illusions dwell in a playground full of nets, snares and traps of their destructive predicament, where all is subjected to randomness.
Thus we realize that living in the truth of goodness is our freedom to choose the positive paths and works that lead us with certainty towards their fruits and benefits, not subjected to anything different from their ways and attributes. In goodness there is no randomness, accidents, traps or prisons.
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.