If you have not checked your calendar… the Rosh Hashanah is fast approaching! Dig out the brisket recipe, practice your round challah braiding skills, make the honey cake with the kids, it is time to welcome a brand new year!
My favorite ritual of Rosh Hashanah is Tashlich. I take my day old bread down to the river and tear it into little pieces. Those pieces represent all of the things I would like to let go of from this past year. I cast those pieces into the water and watch as they float away.
In shul, we come together as a community and admit our wrongdoings as individuals and as a people; we ask our community, our friends, families and God to forgive us. Our fixed prayers do not necessarily guide us to ask for forgiveness from ourselves.
Tashlich is the final step of the prayers we have been sending and singing in synagogue. This ritual gives us a physical outlet to let go of the things that we have done wrong to ourselves and to others. When we take a breath and stretch our hearts and eyes into the running waters of the river, we open the place of compassion in ourselves. We take that moment to recognize God can forgive us and from that place of compassion, we can forgive ourselves.
The river currents turn the bits of bread soggy, breaking them apart. Our “sins” transform, and we too become transformed in that moment. The bread does not disappear, the hurtful feelings do not disappear entirely, but they soften and become more distant, less painful. This transformation makes our Teshuva and our prayers complete and this completeness allows us to begin a new year.
You are never too young or too old to observe Tashlich! Celebrating Tashlich with your children and grandchildren is one of the most moving and meaningful experiences you can have together as a family all year. The memory of holding each other as you cast away bits of bread, of turning to each other and finding love and compassion and forgiveness together is incredible.
Join your clergy and your TE family for this remarkable experience! Saturday September 15th we will Tashlich and picnic at Azalea Park! We will pray, play and sing together. Bring the whole crew, picnic goodies and games for the afternoon. We will close the day with more music and Havdalah. Click HERE for details.
What will you send down the river this year?
Cantor Lauren Adesnik