Papercut and colored pencil art by Sheryl Aronson X 5

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Taschlich: Throw Away Your Sins

This afternoon I participated in Taschlich, one of my favorite traditions of the year.  Tashlich is a Jewish custom from the Middle Ages where Jews go to a flowing body of water on the afternoon of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), and toss bread crumbs into the water.  The bread crumbs represent our sins, and the ceremony symbolizes getting rid of the sins from the past year so you can start fresh for the new year.  The idea of Taschlich comes from Micah 7:19, which states:  God will take us back in  love; God will cover up our iniquities.  You (God) will throw all our sins into the depths of the sea.  

Members of our Temple gather at a park along the Cuyahoga River.  We have a short service which consists of the quote from Micah along with some other relevant readings and songs, then we all toss our 'sins' into the river.  The weather always seems to be beautiful for Taschlich.  We hang out, chatting and eating apples and honey (another Rosh Hashanah tradition).  I can't speak for anyone else, but I always tear my bread into small pieces, and think about specific things that I may have done, such as being impatient, or grouchy.  I actually feel lighter afterwards.  Sometimes the holidays feel so somber and ritualized.  This is a nice break, and a chance to actually do something, instead of just talking/praying about changing our ways.  Even if you are not Jewish, I recommend trying this.  

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