Monday, November 13, 2017

Ecclesiastes: The illusion of vanity and the reality of love (XXIV)

I turned about with my heart to know and to search out and to seek wisdom and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly and the foolishness and madness. And I find bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, her hands are bonds; whoever is good in God’s sight will escape from her, and a sinner will be taken by her. (Ecclesiastes 7:25-26)

We can’t fathom the reasons of an uncontrolled behavior, and more so in regards to others. The example presented here about wicked manipulations is another case when people are blinded by their mistaken understanding of life, in which goodness does not exist. Those who share the same approach get trapped in the destructive fate of living in the absence of goodness.

See, this I have found, said Kohelet, adding one to another to find out the account, which my soul sought yet, but I did not find. One man out of a thousand I found, but a woman among all these I did not find. See, only this one have I found, for God made man straight, but they sought many intrigues. (7:27-29)

The statistics presented by Kohelet are appalling in a world where goodness is the ruling principle in God’s creation. This brings us to reflect on the reasons that human beings may have to follow negative traits and trends out of ego’s fantasies and illusions as the “many intrigues” that they rather choose instead of the righteousness of goodness’ ways and attributes.

Intrigues invite manipulations derived to feelings or beliefs of lack that compel us to control others in order to get what we think that will satisfy our envy, coveting, lust, anger and haughtiness.

As long as we disregard goodness as the source of fulfillment for all our needs, wants and desires with its righteousness and justice, we will continue living in fantasies and illusions.

Who is like the wise man? And who knows the interpretation of a thing? A man’s wisdom makes his face shine, and the boldness of his face is changed. (8:1)

We have said that goodness is the principle that defines the qualities of wisdom which leads us to understand (“interpret”) what we face in life.

The verse brings up light as an abstraction of goodness to teach us that our wisdom must reflect goodness as radiance can shine from a face. This reminds us the second of the three priestly blessings in the Torah.

“May the Lord shine His countenance on you, and make you gracious.” (Numbers 6:25)

In Judaism we know that Divine principles and attributes are symbolically compared to human traits or other material quality such as face, light, hands, darkness, eyes, crown, etc. Hence God’s light is related to the goodness with which He creates, rules and sustains His works, that makes us graceful as an expression inherent in goodness.

As we live in, with and for goodness, the face that represents our identity changes to reflect who we really are with the “boldness” required to approach every aspect of life.

I [counsel you]: keep the King’s command and that in regards to the oath of God. (Ecclesiastes 8:2)

We exercise our Jewish identity by keeping God’s instructions and commandments as the allegiance or Covenant that we have with Him. The Torah says that we are His chosen people, yet we must choose back to His will in order to fulfill our partnership.

This and all the verses in the Hebrew Bible are presented in the context of being, having and doing goodness as the purpose of such Covenant.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Ecclesiastes: The illusion of vanity and the reality of love (XXIII)

It is good that you should take hold of this, and also from this you shall not withdraw your hand, for he who fears God will discharge himself of them all. Wisdom affords strength to the wise more than ten rulers who were in the city, for there is no righteous man on earth who does goodness and sins not. (Ecclesiastes 7:17-20)

Acquiring the awareness mentioned earlier is the way to assimilate God’s ways and attributes that arouse our reverence or “fear” of Him. In this knowledge and realization we release (“discharge”) our consciousness from negative attachments, obsessions or addictions that feed ego’s fantasies and illusions. This acquired wisdom leads us to correct our ways as we learn to live in goodness.

“Whoever is wise, let him understand these things. Whoever is discerning, let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right, and the righteous will walk in them. But transgressors will stumble in them.”
(Hosea 14:9)

Thus we understand that God created evil for us to learn from it in order to always choose goodness, and to realize that sins and transgressions are mistakes that we commit in order to know that in goodness there is no offense, infraction, violation or error.

Also, take no heed of all the words that they speak, lest you hear your servant curse you. For your heart knows that many times you too cursed others. All this I tested with wisdom. I said, ‘I will become wise’, but it was far from me. (7:21-23)

Again Kohelet invites us to become wise while we thrive in the contradictions and ambiguities that we find every moment that we have to exercise free will in conflicting situations between good and evil.

What was, is far off, and very deep [in consciousness], who can find it? (7:24)

Our wise king taps into the complexities of human consciousness, and sometimes remote causes prompt us by default to act or react without control in certain circumstances. In our unawareness of them we can’t understand their origin or purpose in life.

This does not mean that we can dismiss or justify our misdeeds and negative actions because we are unable to fathom the causes of certain instinctual behavior.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Ecclesiastes: The illusion of vanity and the reality of love (XXII)

Wisdom is goodness with a heritage, and it is a profit to those who see the sun. For whoever is in the shade of wisdom is in the shade of money, and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom gives life to its possessor. (Ecclesiastes 7:11-12)

We really become wise when we embrace goodness as the reason and purpose of life, and also knowing that the ethical principle in goodness is its heritage and profit. In the ways and attributes of goodness is our richness in this world, for goodness is the light as we see it in the sun that sustains life.

Thus we understand that the “shade of money” is what protects our material sustenance, as a reflection of the goodness that provides for all our needs. Also, that our wisdom is shaped and defined by goodness, for there is no wisdom without goodness.

See God’s work, for who can straighten out what He made crooked? On a day of good, be among the good, and on a day of adversity, ponder. God has made one corresponding to the other, to the end that man will find nothing after Him. (7:13-14)

The wise king refers us to goodness as God’s work with which He rules His creation and points out to evil for us to choose goodness. In this sense, evil can’t be straightened because it was created for us to boldly contrast goodness against it.

“Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both evils and goods go forth?” (Lamentations 3:38)

In goodness we must choose to be goodness, and in evil we must choose to what we belong. Thus we understand that they oppose (“corresponding”) each other for us to realize that our consciousness is limited to this in order to exercise our free will.

I have seen everything in the days of my vanity. There is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who lives long in his wickedness. Be not overly righteous, and be not overly wise. Why should you bring desolation upon yourself? Be not overly wicked, and be not a fool. Why should you die before your time?”
(Ecclesiastes 7:15-16)

Vanity is still the playground of living according to convenience regardless the duties of righteousness and justice. This is the predicament of living in ego’s fantasies and illusions.

The first verse may invite to nihilism and shamelessness by suggesting that we are prone to die by living in and for goodness, or prone to embrace wickedness in order to secure a long life.

This does not mean to choose wickedness as the easy way to live but to find balance in order not fall into the “gray” areas between good and evil. Although this may be hinted, clear distinctions remain when we compare black and white.

The veiled message in these verses is to be aware of the differences, the qualities and traits of good and evil with their ways and means. In this awareness we acquire the necessary wisdom to properly and successfully approach life as a learning process aimed to make goodness prevail.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Ecclesiastes: The illusion of vanity and the reality of love (XXI)

The heart of the wise is in a house of mourning, whereas the heart of the fools is in a house of joy. It is better to hear the rebuke of a wise man than for a man to hear the song of the fools. For as the sound of the thorns under the pot, so is the laughter of the fool, and this too is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 7:4:6)

The more we learn from life by acquiring knowledge and wisdom, the more we become aware of the harm we can cause by following ego’s agenda and the negative traits derived from lower thoughts, emotions, passions and instincts. Goodness rebukes our seduction by the “song” of fantasies and illusions that lead us to the vanity of negative choices.

For sarcasm makes the wise foolish, and it destroys the understanding which is a gift. The end of a thing is better than its beginning; better the patient in spirit than the haughty in spirit. (7:7-8)

We must guard against nihilism as the residue in the aftermath of wrath, frustration, depression and vexation left by our vanities, which makes us as foolish as the most ignorant of men.

The message here is to learn from our disappointments, mistakes and bad choices, for from this learning we understand, and our understanding becomes our most valuable asset.

As King Solomon mentions repeatedly, the end of our afflictions is better than our beginning in them. Thus we realize that patience is the means and also the process through which we fully learn all the lessons from the idols we alone have created for ourselves.

Be not hasty with your spirit to become wroth, for wrath lies in the bosom of fools. Do not say, ‘How was it that the former days were better than these?’ For not out of wisdom have you asked concerning this.
(7:9-10)

We must ask from where or what we get angry. Here hastiness is suggested as one reason, usually pushed by the anxiety created by what we covet, envy or desire.

This is the predicament of the fool as well as those unaware of what really matters in life. If we miss the days when we had more than what we have now, this means that we are not toiling for the goodness we miss, if goodness was what we had more. In this regard, we always have to ask what truly fulfills every aspect and facet of life every moment.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Ecclesiastes: The illusion of vanity and the reality of love (XX)

For what is the advantage of the wise over the fool? What [less] has the poor man who knows how to go along with the living? Better is what he sees with his eyes than that which goes to satiate his appetite; this too is vanity and frustration. (Ecclesiastes 6:8-9)

In the fields of ego’s fantasies and illusions there is no difference between wise or fool, for both of them toil for the same vanities.

The lesson we learn in those fields is to open the eyes and embrace goodness as the real purpose of life, and abandon the vanities that bring frustration.
 
What was, its name was already called, and it is known that he is a man, and he will not be able to strive with him who is stronger than he. For [if] there are many things that increase vanity, what will remain for a man? (6:10:11)

The more we feed the object of our desire, lust, coveting, envy, wrath, haughtiness, indifference and indolence, the stronger they become along with their oppression, frustration, vexation, depression and impotence to pursue the freedom than only goodness provides.

If these are our rulers and masters, what is that remains in us? Hence we have to hold on goodness as our essence and true identity.

For who knows what is good for man in his lifetime, the number of the days of his life of vanity, that he does them like a shadow? For who will tell man what will be after him under the sun? (6:12)

As long as we live in vanity as the shadow of ego’s fantasies and illusions, goodness is not recognized as the cause and purpose of life. If we don’t recognize goodness, what or who will?

Here King Solomon brings us a mirror to see who we really are, or to realize who we are not, for we are meant to conduct our lives according to who we are and what we believe in, which brings us to our name as our identity.

A good name is better than good oil, and the day of death than the day of one’s birth. It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for that is the end of every man, and the living shall lay it to his heart. Vexation is better than laughter, for with a stern countenance the heart will rejoice. (7:1-3)

Having a “good name” means having goodness as who we are, have and do. This is better than the ephemeral scent of perfumed oils. In this awareness death is welcomed when goodness has been the purpose of the living.

Thus we realize that birth is the uncertain beginning of a life of toiling, either in the fields of God’s ways and attributes or in the fields of ego’s fantasies and illusions.


We also realize that in our afflictions (“the house of mourning”) we learn more than in our joys, particularly if that joy derives from the temporary pleasures of materialistic desires. In this same context we understand the upcoming verses.

Monday, October 9, 2017

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.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Ecclesiastes: The illusion of vanity and the reality of love (XVIII)

There is a grievous evil that I saw under the sun; riches kept by their owner for his harm. And those riches are lost through an evil design, and he will beget a son who will have nothing in his hand. (Ecclesiastes 5:12-13)

We have to identify what harms us and what protects us, and what are the real riches we must pursue in life. Once we fully assimilate that goodness is the cause and purpose of God’s creation, it becomes our most valuable asset; instead of the other things we believe or feel are better to us based on ego’s fantasies and illusions.

As he left his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and he will carry nothing with his toil that he will take in his hand. And this too is a grievous evil that just as it came so shall it go, and what advantage does he have that he toil for the wind? Also all his days he eats in the dark and he has much vexation, and sickness and wrath. (5:14-16)

Materialistic desires derived from ego’s fantasies and illusions are destined to be lost by the futility of their nature. This compels us to appreciate, value and cherish goodness as the true inheritance for our children and generations to come.

Goodness is what we must toil for and to devote all our efforts so we “eat” in its light for the greatest fulfillment of all, and separate ourselves from the vexation, sickness and frustration of having a meaningless life.

Behold what I saw; it is good, yea, it is beautiful, to eat and drink and to experience goodness with all his toil that he toils under the sun, the number of the days of his life that God gave him, for that is his portion. (5:17)

Goodness is the portion God has given us to fully enjoy all His creation. This means that goodness must accompany all aspects, facets and expressions of life, as we “eat and drink and experience” it in all we think, create and do in the material world.

This verse tells us that goodness must encompass all the days of our life, making it a complete part of the existence that God has granted us.

Also every man to whom God has given riches and property, and has given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice with his toil, that is a gift of God. For let him remember that the days of his life are not many, for God is testimony of the joy of his heart. (5:18-19)

We are reminded again that the joy of our life (“heart”) is goodness as God’s ruling principle of His Creation. Goodness is God’s testimony in us, and we are commanded to be it and have it as the essence of all the possessions and power that we may acquire while toiling under the sun, for it is God’s gift to enjoy constantly regardless of the numbers of days we may live.

From the Book's Foreword

Let's reexamine our ancestral memory, intellect, feelings, emotions and passions. Let's wake them up to our true Essence. Let us engage in the delightful awareness of Love as the Essence of G-d. The way this book is written is to reaffirm and reiterate its purpose, so it presents its message and content in a recurrent way. This is exactly its purpose, to restate the same Truth originally proclaimed by our Holy Scriptures, Prophets and Sages. Our purpose is to firmly enthrone G-d's Love in all dimensions of our consciousness, and by doing it we will fulfill His Promise that He may dwell with us on Earth forever. Let's discover together the hidden message of our ancient Scriptures and Sages. In that journey, let's realize Love as our Divine Essence, what we call in this book the revealed Light of Redemption in the Messianic era.