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.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

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.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

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

There is no man that has power over the wind to retain the wind, neither has the power over the day of [his] death; and there is no discharge in war, neither shall wickedness deliver him that is given to it. All this have I seen, even applied my heart to whatever the work that is done under the sun; what time one man had power over another to his hurt. ( Ecclesiastes 8:8-9)

These verses come to expand the reasons for not to entertain fantasies and illusions that we are not fully aware of their outcome, once we turn them into something real. Thus we understand that they are similar to believe that we are able to handle evil or to control it, as we also would like to do with death.

Once we engage ourselves to negative attachments, obsessions or addictions, we are bound to them with no easy relief or deliverance.

There is nothing to profit from this predicament as well as from anything in the realm of ego’s fantasies and illusions, even more so if we inflict wickedness to one another.

And so I saw the wicked buried, and they entered into their [final] rest; and they that had done right went away from the holy place, and were forgotten in the city. This also is vanity. Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.

Both the just and the wicked end up in graves, either sooner or later. Here the just are warned not to separate from their permanent awareness of goodness as the holy place where they belong. Otherwise, they will be forgotten as the wicked in the vanities that they choose to live, for in them there is no judgment or justice.

If we allow negative traits and trends as the ways and means of our consciousness, we confirm that wickedness is sheltered in our hearts.

“Because a sinner does evil a hundred times and [yet he] prolongs his days. Although yet I know that it shall be well with them that revere [lit. fear] God, that fear before Him. But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days which are as a shadow because he fears not before God. (8:12-13)

King Solomon invites us again to become aware of the vanity, futility and frustration of our negative choices, either these shorten or prolong our days, for in them life becomes meaningless.

Thus we translate the reverence (“fear”) of God as the appreciation and devotion to the goodness by which our steps in the path of life are shinned.

There is a vanity which is done upon the earth, that there are righteous men to whom it happens according to the work of the wicked; again, there are wicked men to whom it happens according to the work of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity. (8:14)

This verse reiterates that as long as we engage in the vanity and futility of ego’s fantasies and illusions, there is no difference is we are just or wicked.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

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

Be not hasty to go out of His presence, do not stand in an evil thing; for He does whatever pleases Him. (Ecclesiastes 8:3)

Once again we are reminded to remain in goodness for the sake of goodness as the reflection of God’s presence in His creation, for in this awareness there is no evil.

Thus we realize that evil is the constant reference for us to choose goodness, until the day of the Jewish final redemption when evil will disappear from the face of the earth.

At the meantime we are here to permanently make positive choices and not as we please, for that is a privilege that belongs only to God as the Creator of all.

For as much as the King’s word has power; but who may say to Him, ‘What to do’? Who keeps the commandment knows no evil thing, and a wise heart discerns time and judgment.” (8:4-5)

Goodness is God’s encompassing will for the choices that we are about to make every moment, and it is also the power in His word. His chosen people are destined to choose back to His will and do what is inherent in goodness, for it does not dwell with evil.

In goodness as the ruling principle of wisdom we are born to discern and apply judgment because goodness is the reason and the purpose of life in this world.

For to every matter there is a time and judgment, for the evil of man is great upon him. For he knows not that which shall be; for even when it comes to pass, who shall declare it to him? (8:6-7)

As we mentioned, we all have to face every situation and matter with the proper approach that always pursues goodness, and as our judgment to act and respond according to what is right for every circumstance.

We must live in this awareness because evil is also constantly calling as the other choice that we are divinely instructed, either to avoid or to turn into a positive expression.

Thus we are able to avoid the effects, outcomes or consequences of negative choices, about which we are not always aware of what may result from them, particularly if there is none to advice us against these.

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.

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.