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Tashlikh
Tashlikh
(Hebrew: תשליך‬‎ "cast off") is a customary Jewish atonement ritual performed during the High Holy Days.

Contents

1 Practice 2 Origin of the custom

2.1 Scriptural source 2.2 Questionable early sources 2.3 Maharil 2.4 Shelah 2.5 Ramah

3 Opposition to the custom 4 Mainstream acceptance today 5 See also 6 References

Practice[edit] The ritual is performed at a large, natural body of flowing water (e.g., river, lake, sea, or ocean) on the afternoon of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, although it may be performed until Hoshana Rabbah. The penitent recites a Biblical passage and, optionally, additional prayers. There are those who throw small pieces of bread into the water. However numerous sources point out that this is prohibited. Origin of the custom[edit] Scriptural source[edit] The name "Tashlikh" and the practice itself are derived from an allusion mentioned in the Biblical passage (Micah 7:18-20) recited at the ceremony: "You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea."[1] Questionable early sources[edit]

Josephus
Josephus
("Antiquities" 14:10, § 23) refers to the decree of the Halicarnassians permitting Jews
Jews
to "perform their holy rites according to the Jewish laws and to have their places of prayer by the sea, according to the customs of their forefathers". However, there was an ancient Jewish custom to site synagogues of the Jewish diaspora
Jewish diaspora
on the seashore as an expression of desire to return to Zion.[citation needed] The Zohar
Zohar
("Vayikra" 101a,b) states that "whatever falls into the deep is lost forever; ... it acts like the scapegoat for the ablution of sins". Some believe that this is a reference to the tashlikh ritual.

Maharil[edit] Most Jewish sources trace a year of the custom back to Yaakov ben Moshe Levi Moelin (d. 1427 in Worms) in his Sefer Maharil. There, he explains the custom as a reminder of the binding of Isaac. He recounts a midrash about that event, according to which Satan
Satan
threw himself across Abraham's path in the form of a deep stream, in an attempt to prevent Abraham
Abraham
from sacrificing Isaac
Isaac
on Moriah. Abraham
Abraham
and Isaac nevertheless plunged into the river up to their necks and prayed for divine aid, whereupon the river disappeared.[2] Moelin, however, forbids the practise of throwing pieces of bread to the fish in the river, especially on Shabbat. This would seem to indicate that in his time tashlikh was duly performed, even when the first day of Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah
fell on the Sabbath, though in later times the ceremony was, on such occasions, deferred one day. Shelah[edit] Rabbi
Rabbi
Isaiah Horowitz
Isaiah Horowitz
(d. Tiberias, 1630) offers the earliest written source explaining the significance of allusions to fish in relation to this custom. In his eponymous treatise, Shelah (214b), he writes:

Fish illustrate man's plight, and arouse him to repentance: "As the fishes that are taken in an evil net" (Ecclesiastes 9:12); Fish, in that they have no eyelids and their eyes are always wide open, allude to the omniscience of the Creator, who does not sleep.

Ramah[edit] Rabbi
Rabbi
Moses
Moses
Isserles (Krakow, d. 1572), author of the authoritative Ashkenazi
Ashkenazi
glosses to the Shulchan Aruch, explains:[3]

The deeps of the sea allude to the existence of a single Creator that created the world and that controls the world by, for example, not letting the seas flood the earth. Thus, we go to the sea and reflect upon that on New-Year's Day, the anniversary of Creation. We reflect upon proof of the Creator's creation and of His control, so as to repent of our sins to the Creator, and so he will figuratively "cast our sins into the depths of the sea" (Micah 7:18-20).

Opposition to the custom[edit] The Kabbalistic practise of shaking the ends of one's garments at the ceremony, as though casting off the qliphoth, caused many non-kabbalists to denounce the custom. In their view, the custom created the impression among the common people that by literally throwing their sins they might "escape" them without repenting and making amends. The maskilim in particular ridiculed the custom and characterized it as "heathenish". A popular satire from the 1860s was written by Isaac
Isaac
Erter, in his "HaẒofeh leBet Yisrael" (pp. 64–80, Vienna, 1864), in which Samael
Samael
watches the sins of hypocrites dropping into the river. The Vilna Gaon
Vilna Gaon
also did not follow the practice. Mainstream acceptance today[edit]

Jews
Jews
on Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah
in Aleksander Gierymski's Święto trąbek I

Today, most mainstream Jewish religious movements view tashlikh as acceptable. It is generally not practised by Spanish and Portuguese Jews, and it is opposed by the Yemenite Dor Daim movement and by a small group of followers of the Vilna Gaon
Vilna Gaon
in Jerusalem[citation needed]. Many Jews
Jews
in New York City
New York City
perform the ceremony each year in large numbers from the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. In cities with few open bodies of water, such as Jerusalem, people perform the ritual by a fish pond, cistern, or mikveh.[4] See also[edit]

Repentance in Judaism Atonement in Judaism Kapparot Minhag

References[edit]

^ Zivotofsky, Ari. "What's the Truth About ... Tashlich?". Jewish Action online. Archived from the original on 2007-08-10.  ^ "Ask the Rabbi: Shabbat
Shabbat
Rosh Hashana
Rosh Hashana
5765". Eretz Hemdah Institute.  ^ Isserles, Moshe. Torat ha-'Olah. p. 3:56.  ^ Rabbi
Rabbi
Yirmiyahu, Kaganoff. "Appreciating Tashlich". Yeshiva.co. Retrieved 2 September 2013. 

v t e

High Holidays

Rosh Hashanah

Erev Rosh Hashanah Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah
greetings Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah
seder Shofar Shofar
Shofar
blowing Tashlikh

Yom Kippur

Atonement Break fast Confession Jonah Kapparot Kittel Kol Nidre Ne'ila Repentance Selichot Ten Martyrs Unetanneh Tokef

Ten Days of Repentance

Avinu Malkeinu Fast of Geda

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