Rabbi Irwin Wiener, D.D.
The heat is finally subsiding. The evenings are cooler. We can move about without worrying about too much exposure to the sun, and we feel a sense of togetherness after a season of isolation which include rising in the early morning to avoid the intense heat and waiting until evening to venture into the world outside.
And as the season changes, so does our attention to greater adventures and a time for re-birth. Part of that re-birth includes marriage. And we know that marriage is fulfillment and completion in the cycle of life.
Did you ever give any thought to the fact that on any particular wedding day, the groom and the bride look like never before? There is a certain glow that radiates from their faces. It is as though they are in another dimension and we are witnesses to a moment of ecstasy. It is amazing.
The French actress Simone Signoret, one of France’s greatest stars and a partisan during World War II, was fond of saying, “Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads, which sew people together through the years.” That is the essence of a meaningful relationship that includes body and soul.
I recently read something written by a feminist of the 19th century, Emma Goldman. She had a handle on life and relationships. She would remark that love is free and it can dwell in no other atmosphere. She prefaces that statement by saying that love is the strongest and deepest element in all life, the harbinger of hope, of joy, of ecstasy; love, the defiler of all laws, of all conventions; love, the freest, the most powerful molder of human destiny.
However, I believe her greatest understanding of love can be found in an expression she uttered during a speech, “A true conception of the relation of the sexes will not admit of conqueror and conquered; it knows of but one great thing: To give of one’s self boundlessly, in order to find one’s self richer, deeper, better.”
Both these people speak to the same concept of love: The undying affection for connecting one to the other in a sea of tranquil calmness that transcends the very essence of our being. If we can truly become one, then we have managed to create a life of excitement.
We are only as good as what we love (Saul Bellow). The ultimate test of love is that we love our intended as much or more than we love ourselves. And that is possible when we approach relationships with the thought of happiness in oneness.
So as we enter the fall season, remember that the warmth of summer has not left us but rather re-located within us. It wasn’t that long ago when we felt the same, experienced the thrill of connection and still remember the start of our journey of ecstasy.
We are not too old to remember, even as we enter the fall of our lives.