I heard someone mention the following:

The Alshich HaKodosh says, "How great is folly of those people that involve themselves in the physical, material and temporal. Because we have seen a generation come and leave and this land that they worship it’s forever and it consumes them and uses them and spits them out."

Does anyone know the source for this?

  • Please edit in your source for the verbatim quotation. – Isaac Moses Jan 7 '15 at 3:52

This is from the Alshich's commentary on Koheles (1:4):

והדבר הלזה אחשבה יאמר קהלת באומרו דור הולך ודור בא וכו', לומר מה גדלה מאד טעות המתעסקים בדברים ארציים המבלים את העוסק ועמל בהם, כי הנה בעינינו ראינו דור הולך ודור בא והארץ אשר אנשי הדורות עשו עיקר ממנה ומענייניה היא העומדת לעולם ומבלה ומכלה אותם, עם שגם היא עתידה להבלות והוא הוללות וסכלות. מה שאין כן לו התעסקו במלאכת ה' ותורתו, כי הלא המה היו נשארים וקיימים לעד לעולם כי יתדבקו בקונם, אף כי הארץ כבגד תבלה ושמים כעשן נמלחו, נפשות הצדיקים נצחיות עד אין קץ כנודע

English (my translation):

"A generation goes and a generation comes, etc." This is to say, how great is the error of those who delve into worldly matters that exhaust those who delve and toil in them. For we have seen with our own eyes one generation come and another go, and the land, which was the focus of the people of those generations, endures, while it exhausts and consumes them. Yet, the land itself will eventually wear away. And this is stupidity and foolishness.

This would not be so had they delved into the work of HaShem and His Torah, for they would have remained and endured eternally because they would have cleaved to their Maker. "Even while the land shall wear out like a garment, and the heavens shall evaporate as smoke" (cf. Y'sha'ya 51:6), the souls of the righteous are eternal, with no end, as is known.

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