b'WESTERN MARBLE ARCH SYNAGOGUE1:9The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and thatwhich is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. 1:10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. A couple of verses later, King Solomon says: I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.There, the wisest of people, a king who achieved so much, yet, the ennui overcomes him. Is the message of Kohelet really that its all been done before and whatever we do, whatever we achieve and have striven for, all the things we spend our lives building up are neither original nor lasting, basically hollow?It was my late father who saw what the rabbis saw. The key phrase, the great and, once one sees it, obvious clue is under the sun. Kohelet isnt a paean to the fruitlessness and futility of striving and achieving, the pointlessness of work and effort, but to what one doesunderthesun. Withouttheinvolvementofheaven,the divine,without connecting with Hashem, without sanctifying all our work and effort in life, in business and family building, in art and thought, our piles of material possessions, contributions to the arts are neither original or will they be lasting. Two powerful ideas to my mind flow from this. The wisest man, whose memory and achievements have endured through thousands of years, knew that wealth and wisdom without the spiritual connection wouldnt last. But see what he achieved by making that connection. His wealth may have gone, his Temple may have been destroyed but all of it lives on in our heritage and faith. Secondly, the humblest achievements in secular terms have more meaning, endure more when that work is done in praise and in sanctification of Hashem. To think that the lifes work of a grocer can be more prodigious than the empires of others is an immensely powerful idea.So Shemini Atzeret, on Shabbat with the reading of Kohelet become a three-pronged reminder of how we can and should take all the fruits of Succot and the festivals and make them meaningful in our quotidian lives.26'