A few weeks ago my husband Les and I had the great fortune of going to Chamonix, France. We did a number of hikes with a group of wonderful people, and spent a beautiful Shabbat there.
The mountains and the view were stunning. Everywhere I looked I saw beauty. As often as possible I took out my sketchbook to draw. I wanted to capture the awe that these mountains inspire.
We happened to be in Chamonix between Tisha B’Av (the day commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples of Jerusalem) and Rosh haShana. Those weeks between the two observances are called “The Weeks of Consolation”. The haftarah readings at synagogue are meant to comfort us and remind us of God’s love for the children of Israel.
One of the readings has a quotation from the Book of Isaiah which resonated with me as I was in the mountains. “For the mountains be moved and the hills be shaken, my love from you will never depart.” (Isaiah 54:10). It reminds me of the love song “Love is Here to Stay” by George Gershwin. It was the last musical piece he composed before his death in 1937. His brother and creative partner Ira wrote the lyrics as a tribute to George. The two brothers often wrote music that had elements of Jewish melody and liturgy in them, and it may be that the lines from Isaiah were an inspiration to Ira and to George.
As we go forward in these Days of Awe it is easy to feel overwhelmed by our goals, our hopes, our fears, and our attempts to improve ourselves. Through our self reflection we can be supported by the sentiments in the “Weeks of Consolation”. God wants righteousness, honesty, integrity and kindness from His people. And God will wait as a bridegroom waits for his bride.
May your year be filled with health, love, peace, joy, and growth.