Sunday, January 21, 2018

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

Don’t curse the king, no, not in your thoughts; and don’t curse the rich in your bedroom, for a bird of the sky may carry your voice, and that which has wings may tell the matter. (Ecclesiastes 10:20)

Thus we understand that we must cherish our most precious and valuable beliefs and principles (the “king” and the “rich”), for these are the blessings by which we achieve the goodness God wants for us. We must not despise them, either with our actions or with our words or thoughts. We know that by our ways and actions we portray and express ourselves; and for them, sooner or later, we will be accountable.

Send forth your bread on the face of the waters, for in the multitude of the days you will find it. Give a portion to seven, and even to eight, for you don’t know what evil is on the earth. If the thick clouds are full of rain, on the earth they empty themselves. And if a tree falls in the south or to the north, the place where the tree falls, there it is.

Our Sages relate to water in many ways, hence we can understand the first verse in diverse forms. The context here is a life that encompasses a “multitude of days” in which we live to find the goodness that we are commanded to share with others. Here, we take “the waters” as the thoughts that we direct by discernment, understanding and knowledge with goodness as their ruling principle.

Thus we share it with as many as possible to keep away the negative ways and trends of vanities and illusions, as “the evil on the earth”. This factual statement is followed also by natural facts, such as the rain over the earth and the trees that fall on it.

In a deeper meaning, and following the same context, our thoughts (“the waters”) eventually turn into concrete actions (“the earth”), where the former “empty themselves”. The trees symbolize life standing in the material world to which we give a direction, either positive or negative, where we live and stay when we die.

He who is observing the wind does not sow, and who is looking on the thick clouds does not reap. (11:4)

We are warned time and again that we reap what we sow, and inaction leads nowhere. Wind and clouds can be understood here also as the whims and desires of material fantasies and illusions that don’t have true profit or benefit, and from which we can’t sow or reap.

As you don’t know what is the way of the wind, nor how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child; even so you don’t know the work of God who does all. In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening don’t withhold your hand; for you don’t know which will prosper, whether this or that, or whether they both will be equally good. Sweet also is the light, and good for the eyes to see the sun. (11:5-7)

Our ignorance extends from our own unawareness of the effects of ego’s fantasies and illusions to the ways of nature and the ways God directs His creation. Hence we have to do what is right and proper in all our endeavors without selfish reservations, and share our goodness the best way we can, without expectations or manipulations.

Goodness knows its ways, and the ends of its qualities. As long as we direct goodness in our own personal ways, it may not be as good as it is by itself. We have said that light is an abstraction of goodness, and we contemplate on its sweetness and kindness, as we are pleased by the radiance of the sun that fills every open space.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

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

If the snake bites before it is charmed, then there is no profit for the charmer’s tongue. The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but a fool is swallowed by his own lips. The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness; and the end of his talk is mischievous madness. A fool also multiplies words. Man doesn’t know what will be; and that which will be after him, who can tell him? The labor of fools wearies every one of them; for he doesn’t know how to go to the city. (Ecclesiastes 10:11-15)

An undeveloped and uneducated discernment leads to foolish choices and decisions that can bring destruction. The same goes for an uncontrolled egotism, similar to an untamed snake that can kill the goodness that we have to embrace as the ruling principle in consciousness.

We have no profit, benefit or advancement in beliefs, thoughts, emotions and feelings inspired or fed by negative traits, but actually having the opposite. Hence we realize that our words and actions are the expressions of what we believe in, either good or bad. Thus we are able to know what is coming to us after what we say or do.

Nobody can tell us about the outcome of our actions but these. Our own ignorance leads us to the effects of our foolishness, derived from ego’s fantasies and illusions that obstruct our awareness of goodness as the city where we all belong. In this sense, “the city” is also Jerusalem as the permanent awareness of our connection with the Creator.

Woe to you, land, when your king is a youth and your princes banquet [lit. eat] in the morning! Happy are you, land, when your king is the son of nobles and your princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness! By slothfulness the roof sinks in; and through idleness of the hands the house leaks. (10:16-18)

We have learned that the earth and the land symbolize life, while kings and nobles represent the ruling beliefs and principles from which we conduct ourselves.

The first verse refers to wasteful and undermining traits and trends that turn life into something meaningless and futile as drunkenness, in contrast to the positive qualities that strengthen goodness as the cause and purpose of life.

Here we are warned to constantly live in goodness, and not fall in the idleness of vanity and futility that weaken and destroy the dignity of life.

A feast is made for laughter, and wine makes life glad; and money is the answer for all things. (10:19)

This verse contains two separate statements, both meant to complement each other. As we have mentioned, the purpose of life is goodness as its laughter and enjoyment that are expressions of its plenitude and wholeness.

What money has to do with this? Money exists as the means to acquire services, goods and assets which are needed to achieve the plenitude and fullness of life in this material world under the sun.

We learned from our Sages that in the spiritual worlds there are no material possessions to be acquired, for the spirit is not sustained by matter. In this world the human body nurtures from physical food, for which we are commanded by God to work for. Thus we buy to acquire or possess what we need, in order to live and survive as human beings.

In this context we assimilate that “money is the answer of all things”, as the means to acquire the necessary things to make life as comfortable and pleasurable as God wants us to.

This is not meant to be forever while we live in the material world, for our Prophets tell us about “the end of times” when we won’t need money to live in the abundance and plenitude of the knowledge of the Creator.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

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

There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, the sort of error which proceeds from the ruler. Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in a low place. I have seen servants on horses, and princes walking like servants on the earth.
(Ecclesiastes 10:5-7)

Here Kohelet reminds us that every choice that we make has effects or consequences. This applies to positive actions and negative choices. The second verse is quite insightful for us to understand the times we live. When he says that “folly is set in great dignity”, is referring to the glamorization of ego’s fantasies and illusions, presented as respectable options for an acceptable lifestyle.

This cultural, social or fashion trend considers certain beliefs that label goodness according to their own benefit or gain as part of the dignity inherent in life. Thus we understand the “rich” as the ones who believe in the uncompromising quality of goodness, sitting it in the “low place” of materialistic fantasies and illusions.

The final verse illustrates this moral decay when we see the fool acclaimed as respectable, and the respectable (the “princes”) behaving as slaves by their materialistic obsessions, attachments and addictions.

He who digs a pit may fall into it; and whoever breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake. Whoever carves out stones may be injured by them. Whoever splits wood may be endangered thereby. (10:8-9)

In this predicament we become aware that the desire of living in fantasies and illusions makes us fall into them, and become liable for the afflictions that come out of them. Once we are trapped in them, only their ways rule our life to inflict pain and suffering. These verses illustrate quite well this predicament.

If the ax is blunt, and one doesn’t sharpen the edge, then he must use more strength. And wisdom is advantageous to make right. And wisdom has the advantage to succeed. (10:10)

Kohelet compares wisdom to an ax that has to be sharpened. The sharpening of the ax is the necessary learning process that makes us wise. The comparison invites to develop discernment and understanding as the means to achieve the proper knowledge required to make righteous judgments.

In this sense, having a sharp mind implies to “cut” out the foolishness of ego’s fantasies and illusions from our hearts, and leave in it only the righteous ways and attributes of goodness to approach all aspects and facets of life. In this wise approach we can only expect the success inherent in goodness.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

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.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

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

This also have I seen as wisdom under the sun, and it seemed great unto me: There was a little city and few men within it, and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it. Now there was found in it a man poor and wise, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man. Then I said that wisdom is better than strength, nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised and his words are not heard.
(Ecclesiastes 9:13-16)

This story illustrates in its allegories the central message of Kohelet. We can understand the city as our consciousness, frequently besieged by the power that negative traits and trends can have over us, all coming from ego’s driving force which is represented by the invading king. The deliverer of the city is goodness that is its natural ruler, for both belong to each other.

Interestingly, Kohelet presents “poor” and “wise” as complementing traits, understanding the former as the humbleness inherent in goodness. Our sages consider humbleness an intellectual quality, necessary to acquire wisdom as the means to grasp God’s Torah for humankind in general, and Israel in particular as the chosen inheritor to disseminate such instruction.

The main question in the story is how the poor wise man delivered the city from the king and his army. The answer is persuasion. The story makes evident that the poor wise man didn’t have an army or weapons to defeat the king, so the power of wisdom causes the deliverance.

Wisdom usually unfolds by contrasting itself from ignorance in order to bring it back to understanding, as the light dissipates darkness and turn it into part of the light.

Thus we understand that darkness is the previous condition that makes sense to light. The same works for good and evil, for the latter is the reason for the former to exist.

The purpose of goodness is to transform evil by extracting the goodness concealed in it, for evil can’t exist without goodness.

Once we are exposed to the effects and consequences of the negative traits and trends of ego’s fantasies and illusions, we come to the realization that evil is not a choice but a reference to choose goodness. In this awareness we realize that the “persuasion” of the poor wise man is the educational process that takes modifying or transforming the negative traits and trends that submit our consciousness to their destroying effects and consequences.

The story tells us that ultimately the poor wise man was forgotten, ignored and even despised. Such is the fate of goodness in the playing ground of ego’s fantasies and illusions.

As soon as we realize that coming back to goodness brings us the long yearned freedom, and return momentarily to its ways and attributes, we go back to the addictive nature of negative trends and trends.

Hence Kohelet concludes that living in such vicious circle is vanity and vexation of the spirit that sustains life.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

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.
(Proverbs 18:22)

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.
(Isaiah 38:18)

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.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

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

This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that there is one event unto all; yea also, the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead. For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope; for a living dog is better than a dead lion.
(Ecclesiastes 9:3-4)

We all face evil in this world under the sun, for it happens to all. As part of human consciousness to exercise free will, evil dwells with us as the necessary reference to choose goodness.

If we make evil our choice, it fills our hearts and minds to make us fall into ego’s fantasies and illusions as the expressions of madness for what we live and for what we eventually die.

This again brings us to the awareness that a meaningful life is associated to goodness, while the vanity and futility of evil turn us into the living dead.

It’s better to live in goodness, even if is little, than living dead in abundance as it happened with the generation of the Flood and the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, who in their extreme abundance they lived in depravity and perversion.

For the living know that they shall die; but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. As well their love, as their hatred and their envy, is long ago perished; neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun.

We are subtly taught here that goodness accumulates, adds and multiply, for it is always remembered and praised for the benefit of the human condition.

Those who live in, with, by and for goodness know that it is their only true possession because it is part of who they are. In this awareness they complete their life and its purpose when they die.

The goodness that they have done makes them always living, for their memory is blessed and honored even after their passing; while the memory of the wicked is erased, for their negative deeds are only reminders of what must be removed from life.

Go your way, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has already accepted your [good] works. Let your garments be always white and let your head lack no oil. (9:7-8)

These verses evoke the Jewish final redemption and Messianic times that we are destine to live, rather sooner than later, for goodness is the purpose of God’s creation that includes life in this world.

Goodness is the purpose and motivation to go into the world and enjoy the things that can make us happy, and to exult in a joyous heart knowing that we reap the produce and benefits of the goodness for which we live.

This is the realization that goodness is the bond with our Creator that keeps us pure, complete and wholesome. In this awareness we are permanently enlightened with the oil of our knowledge of Him.

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.