Ecclesiastes (in Hebrew, Kohelet) has long been viewed as the great existential work of the Hebrew Bible, containing the famous cry “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” As part of a search for enduring meaning, it questions the nature of work, mortality, happiness, justice, goodness, and life itself. Kohelet is awash in contradictions, careful observations, disappointments, and insights, making it one of the richest and most complex books in all of Tanakh.
This fresh and hopeful look at an ancient book synthesizes rabbinic commentary with modern scholarship, fine art, and poetry. It highlights expressions from Kohelet that have become common parlance while shedding light on its more obscure verses. Ecclesiastes and the Search for Meaning offers a comprehensive introduction to the book and includes three essays on each chapter, concluding with an epilogue on Kohelet’s liturgical use on the holiday of Sukkot – for Kohelet combines the frustrations and vulnerabilities of life “under the sun” with the temporal joys that make life worthwhile. All are regarded as a “gift from God.”