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September 09, 1988 - Image 39

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-09-09

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Lose inches with body toning
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transferred into virtues by
repentance!'
Another Rosh Hashanah
ritual, the origins of which
are uncertain, is that of
Tashlich, performed by Jews
on the afternoon of the first
day of the new year. It is
believed to be based on the
prophet Michah, who wrote:
"And thou wilt cast all thy
sins into the depths of the
sea!"
Out of this - arose a
ceremony in which Jews go to
a place with running water.
There the verse from Michah
is recited along with other
hymns and prayers.
In the Jerusalem suburb of
Kiryat Moshe where I live,
there is a well in the garden
of a large house that is
covered all the year round. On
Rosh Hashanah, however, the
owners not only welcome all
the local Jews to come and
pray Tashlich there, but one of
their children offers everyone
sweets as they leave, turning
it into quite a festive and
social occasion. It is also the
custom at Tashlich to shake
out one's pockets and toss the
crumbs into the water, either
as a means of transferring
your sins to the fish,or _
perhaps to bear out a
talmudic saying that the
cleanliness of garments is a
sign of moral purity.
There are several inter-
pretations of this ritual. One
is that the fish in the river
whose eyes never close are a
reminder of God's ever watch-
ful eyes, always open to look
on His creatures in mercy.
Another explanation is that it
is a reminder of the midrashic
tale of Abraham's refusal to
be deterred from his mission
to sacrifice Isaac even after
Satan transformed himself
into a brook to obstruct his
path. Yet another explanation
is that Tashlich is a tribute to
God, to whose work of crea-
tion (which began on Rosh
Hashanah) fish were the first
witnesses.
It was the custom of Jews
from Kurdistan to actually
enter the water, and the kab-
balists added mystical quotes
from the Zohar to the
Tashlich service.
Although prayers are con-
centrated during the Days of
Awe — the period between
Rosh Hashana and Yom Kip-
pur — they are part of our
obligation at all times. Reb
Nahman of Bratslav express-
ed it with great beauty:
"Every word of your prayer is
like a rose which you pick
from its bush. You continue
until you have formed a bou-
quet of blessingss, until you
have plaited a wreath of glory
for the Lord!"

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World Zionist Press Service

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

39

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