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

llustration by Yoseph Savan based on The Zohar

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

The words of the wise spoken in quiet are more acceptable than the cry of a ruler among fools. Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.

(Ecclesiastes 9:17-18)

These verses reiterate that wisdom speaks words of persuasion that in their quietness guide the ignoramuses to their freedom from attachments, obsessions and addictions. The latter are ego’s shouting rules over its fantasies and illusions that lead consciousness to destroy the goodness that is its freedom.

Dead flies cause the oil of the perfumer to send forth a bad odor, so does a little folly outweigh wisdom and honor. The heart of the wise is at his right hand, and the heart of a fool at his left. Yes, also when the fool walks by the way, his understanding fails him, and he says to everyone that he is a fool. (10:1-3)

The metaphors in these verses speak for themselves. We should not spoil goodness as our essence and true identity with anything different than its ways and attributes. This is another reiteration that there are clear differences between good and evil, and if they are mixed, the result is another trait of evil.

The dead flies indeed represent the futility of ego’s fantasies and illusions that spoil the pleasant fragrance of love’s ways and attributes. In the foolish choice of evil ways there is no wisdom or honor, for they act contrary to even common sense and décor.

Here the heart is the conscious self with which we make our choices. As long as we have a clear judgment to approach life, the plain wisdom in common sense leads us to the right decision.

The wrong approach is the foolish assumption that materialistic desires, fantasies and illusions lead us to the good life we stupidly believe that comes from them.

Our discernment and understanding are factually absent from a self-centered approach to life. The actions coming from our foolishness speak about who we are.

If the spirit of the ruler goes up against you, do not leave your place; for yielding quiets great sinners. (10:4)


We can understand that rulers are not only those who govern peoples, nations or kingdoms. These also represent the guiding and directing principles that govern our life. If these act as slave masters or oppressors against us, we must ignore them and take refuge in the positive traits and qualities that lead us to positive situations and circumstances. In the latter lies the peace and balance that keep us away from negative thoughts, emotions, feelings and actions.


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Ariel Ben Avraham
Kochav Yaakov, Safed, northern Galilee, 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 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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