Ariel Ben Avraham's book on the Jewish conception of God's love according to the Hebrew Scriptures and Jewish theology. How we relate to God's love as our common bond with Him. You can order the book directly from the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the book:
"Let's be aware that we are emanated from God' love. Whatever we are and have come from Him and it is His, including the love that we are and give. Love is our essence and identity."
“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.” (9:5-6)
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.
“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
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.
“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
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.” (8:10-11)
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)
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.
“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
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.
“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)
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.
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)
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.
“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.”
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)
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
“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
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.
“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.
here is to learn from our disappointments, mistakes and bad choices, for from
this learning we understand, and our understanding becomes our most valuable
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.”
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.
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.