Off the Pulpit

God and Gershwin

On Shabbat morning in synagogue I realized that the Gershwin lyric: “The Rockies may tumble/ Gibraltar may crumble/ they’re only made of clay/ but our love is here to stay” had a biblical root. Because we read in the Haftorah from Isaiah 54:10: “For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you.”

That got me to thinking anew how many are unaware of the constant theme in Judaism of God’s love. My first book, over thirty years ago, was called “The Healer of Shattered Hearts” and explored this theme, and related themes of God as close to us and guiding us. “I will love them freely” says the prophet Hosea in God’s name (14:5) and the Rabbis comment that this means — even when they do not love Me back.

The God of Israel is a God of power and creation, to be sure. But also, a God of love. From Genesis to Gershwin, God’s love is here to stay.