Click to enlarge for the beautiful window details
Shabbat Nachamu begins this evening.
After going down to the depths on Tisha B'Av, mourning the destruction of the Temple and of Jerusalem [in my 9 B'Av posts], we are brought back to the light by Isaiah's visions of a better future.
He tells us that Jerusalem has paid the price for her sin and is now forgiven.
The haftorah, Isaiah 40:1-26, begins "Nachamu, nachamu ami . . ."
God is telling his prophets to console his people:
" 'Comfort, oh comfort my people,' says your God.
'Speak softly and tenderly to Jerusalem . . .' "
Are they not lovely and welcome words?!
The other verses are equally lovely and well-known.
You can chose your preferred translation of the Isaiah chapter:
"The Message" in modern English or NIV or the translation used by Chabad or the Hebrew with classic old English.
The painted stained glass window is exhibited at Hechal Shlomo museum of Jewish art in Jerusalem.
It was made in England in 1907, one of twelve windows that graced a synagogue in Manchester.
It is based on sketches made by 19th century pilgrims to the Holy Land.