TRADITIONS - TASHLICH

Sometime between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, it is customary to throw bread crumbs into a body of water as a symbolic act of repentance. Most Jews do tashlich the afternoon of the first day of Rosh Hashana. Family and friends gather together at the waterfront to "cast away" the sins of the past year and resolve to be a better in the year to come.

The liturgy for the occasion is short and consists mainly of selections from the Prophets (N'viim) and Writings (K'tuvim). We begin by reciting a passage from Micah:

Who is a G-d like you,
Forgiving sin
And sending away evil?
G-d will take us back in love;
You will cover up our wrongs,
You will hurl all our sins
Into the deep of the sea.

We read passages from the Psalms and Isaiah affirming our closeness to the Divine before concluding by reciting seven times:

Forever, G-d, your word stands firm in heaven.

The readings certainly embody the ideal of repentance (teshuva) that is such a preodominant theme in the rituals and customs of Rosh Hashanah. Tashlich is a way to admit our own faults and symbolically shed the baggage of last year's mistakes. In the face of our own personal conflicts, we affirm our closeness to humanity and to G-d.

This year, because the first day of Rosh Hashana falls on a Saturday (Shabbat), Tashlich can be done as early as the afternoon of the second day (September 15).

Other traditions: Tzedakah , Food

Micah translation by Stephen M. Wylen
From The Book of the Jewish Year
© UAHC Press
Reprinted with permission