Question: Every person is on a search for happiness throughout his life. We look for what can bring us joy, love, elation, or peace. As a result, there is a need to turn to King Solomon’s famous book Ecclesiastes, which was written thousands of years ago.
I would like to understand why this story involves King Solomon and at a time of absolute prosperity? What is the message conveyed through this book?
Answer: What is Hevel Havalim (foolishness)? It is the bestowal and good attitude that stems from a person. The word “hevel” (“foolishness” in Hebrew) stems from the word “steam,” which is the breath that comes out of a person’s mouth, his attitude towards others, the Returning Light, by which he returns the good attitude to the world.
This is the only thing a person’s success and wellbeing depends on in this world. King Solomon teaches us how we attain happiness by this steam, which we create by our attitude towards others.
Question: I reflect on the environment and the environment reflects on me in response?
Answer: Yes. Everything depends on my attitude. The world is external to me and I don’t know it. But if my attitude towards the world is that I constantly take from it for myself, it seems dark. I constantly look for what else I can take for myself, and consequently, I remain empty. On the other hand, if I operate through what stems from me, I attain happiness.
Comment: But we usually understand the term Hevel Havalim (foolishness) as something that is hopeless.
Answer: It is because we understand it in our ego.
Question: Why did Solomon come to the conclusion that material acquisitions will never make a person happy?
Answer: Because this way we only expand our vessels of receiving, the desire to be full. When I want to buy something, to fill myself, I thus double my desire. Therefore it says that “a person dies with only half his desire in hand.”
What does it means that a person dies? That he kills his desire to receive. I wanted something and I got it. At the same time I receive the filling, my desire dies. Suppose I want to buy a house and I do it. I enjoy it for a couple of weeks, but gradually the pleasure diminishes until it disappears.
Question: I have a feeling that you are talking about people who have everything and feel emptiness, while a person who is not well off still desires something. How can the idea that a rich man buys a villa for a several million dollars and doesn’t feel any pleasure in it after a year help me?
Answer: Humanity advances along the path of its egoistic evolution, thus becoming more and more qualitative. The point isn’t that yesterday I wanted a two room apartment, today I need a four room apartment, and tomorrow a villa in an exclusive neighborhood. No. Our desire develops in a qualitative manner. The desire that develops in me today ceases to feel property as the goal of life. Humanity sees that it isn’t worth making such an effort for that.
Today the disappointment from life is much greater than looking for luxuries and prestige. I have become more indifferent and lazy. I want to be happy, but virtually. I want to feel happiness directly, and not through bricks called a villa, or a water reservoir called a swimming pool. I want to obtain an inner feeling! This is the whole problem, the plague of the century!
I have nothing to say to a person who still hopes that material acquisitions will bring him happiness. He sees his life as a process of working and in another ten years buying a house, two cars, having a family, and bringing up his kids. He considers this a good organized life. In that case he has to wait another ten years to see that it is all Hevel Havalim.
From KabTV’s “A New Life” 5/23/13