“It’s very clear our love is here to stay.
Not for a year, but ever and a day.
The radio and the telephone
And the movies that we know
May just be passing fancies and in time may go.
But, oh my dear, our love is here to stay.
Together were going a long, long way.
In time the Rockies may crumble,
Gibraltar may tumble, they’re only made of clay.
But our love is here to stay.”
— Ira Gershwin, “Love is Here to Stay”
“For the mountains may be moved
and the hills may falter,
but My kindness shall not be removed from you
and My covenant of peace shall not falter
— says the One Who shows you mercy, HASHEM.”
— Isaiah 54:10 (Stone Chumash)
George Gershwin wrote the music for what became “Love Is Here to Stay,” not long before his death on 3 Av 5697 (July 11, 1937). Isaiah 54:10 would have been read a few weeks later, on 14 Elul (August 21), to accompany the reading of Ki Teitzei. (The same verses comprise part of the haftarah for parashat Noach).
Ira Gershwin finished the lyrics shortly after George’s death. I have no idea if Ira was in shul that (or any) day, or exactly when the song was finished, but I personally consider this the “Gershwin haftarah.” I can’t read the passage from Isaiah without hearing “Love Is Here to Stay,” and I have heard others independently notice the resonance.
In the midst of the many rules of Ki Teitzei and the demands of Elul more generally — which can all seem a bit overwhelming — this, the fifth of the haftarot of consolation/comfort, provides such a simple, powerful complement: “[God’s] love is here to stay.”
The “Opening the Book” series was originally presented in cooperation with the independent, cross-community Jewish Study Center and with Kol Isha, an open group that for many years pursued spirituality from a woman’s perspective at Temple Micah (Reform). “A Song Every Day” is an independent blog, however, and all views, mistakes, etc. are the author’s.