Ecclesiastes 2:18-24
וְשָׂנֵאתִי אֲנִי אֶת כָּל עֲמָלִי שֶׁאֲנִי עָמֵל תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ שֶׁאַנִּיחֶנּוּ לָאָדָם שֶׁיִּהְיֶה אַחֲרָי: וּמִי יוֹדֵעַ הֶחָכָם יִהְיֶה אוֹ סָכָל וְיִשְׁלַט בְּכָל עֲמָלִי שֶׁעָמַלְתִּי וְשֶׁחָכַמְתִּי תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ גַּם זֶה הָבֶל: וְסַבּוֹתִי אֲנִי לְיַאֵשׁ אֶת לִבִּי עַל כָּל הֶעָמָל שֶׁעָמַלְתִּי תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ: כִּי יֵשׁ אָדָם שֶׁעֲמָלוֹ בְּחָכְמָה וּבְדַעַת וּבְכִשְׁרוֹן וּלְאָדָם שֶׁלֹּא עָמַל בּוֹ יִתְּנֶנּוּ חֶלְקוֹ גַּם זֶה הֶבֶל וְרָעָה רַבָּה: כִּי מֶה הֹוֶה לָאָדָם בְּכָל עֲמָלוֹ וּבְרַעְיוֹן לִבּוֹ שְׁהוּא עָמֵל תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ: כִּי כָל יָמָיו מַכְאֹבִים וָכַעַס עִנְיָנוֹ גַּם בַּלַּיְלָה לֹא שָׁכַב לִבּוֹ גַּם זֶה הֶבֶל הוּא: אֵין טוֹב בָּאָדָם שֶׁיֹּאכַל וְשָׁתָה וְהֶרְאָה אֶת נַפְשׁוֹ טוֹב בַּעֲמָלוֹ גַּם זֹה רָאִיתִי אָנִי כִּי מִיַּד הָאֱלֹהִים הִיא:
So, too, I loathed all the wealth that I was gaining under the sun. For I shall leave it to the one who will succeed me – and who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? – and s/he will control all the wealth that I gained by toil and wisdom under the sun. That too is futile. And so I came to view with despair all the gains I had made under the sun. For sometimes a person whose fortune was made with wisdom, knowledge, and skill must hand it on to be the portion of somebody who did not toil for it. That too is futile, and a grave evil. For what does one get for all the toiling and worrying one does under the sun? All that person's days his/her thoughts are grief and heartache, and even at night his/her mind has no respite. That too is futile! There is nothing worthwhile for a person but to eat and drink and afford enjoyment with his/her means. And even that, I noted, comes from God. [JPS translation edited for gender-neutrality]

Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. What is this text suggesting about wealth and work? Do you agree?

2. How does one afford enjoyment within their means? Is everyone today able to do so?

Time Period: Biblical (early ancestors to 165 BCE)