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September 26, 2003 - Image 57

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-09-26

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

* Customs And Traditions:
Like almost all Jewish holidays,
Rosh Hashanah is celebrated
with festive meals.
More so than any other
Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah
is replete with symbolic foods,
the best known of which is
honey.
We dip slices of apple in
honey and recite a prayer
expressing our hopes for a
sweet year to come.
Many people also dip
their bread in
honey (instead of
the usual salt) for
the motzi prayer
that begins the
meal.
Other symbolic
foods include the
head of a fish or the
head of a sheep (a play
on the "rosh" part of Rosh
Hashanah), carrots (based on
a Yiddish pun on the word for
"increase") or pomegranates
(which has many seeds, sym-
bolic of many children or
many good deeds). Families
have their own traditions
regarding symbolic foods.
Another popular custom of
the holiday is tashlich, which
literally means "you shall cast."
It begins late afternoon on the
first day of Rosh Hashanah, or
on the second day of Rosh
Hashanah if the first day is
Shabbat.
During the ceremony (which
is tradition, not Halachah),
people assign "sins" to bits of
bread, then symbolically rid
themselves of these by tossing
the-bread into the water.
Usually, this is accompanied by
the recitation of certain verses,
including Micah 7:18-20,
Psalms 118:5-9:33; and 130;
and Isaiah 11:9.
The reason for tashlich's
inclusion during Rosh
Hashanah is clear: as one enters
the new year, one hopes to do
so with a clean slate, with God
forgiving the past sins for
which he has repented and
which he has tossed away,
never to repeat.
While we do know the
source of the name of the cere-
mony (Micah 7:19 states: "You
will cast all their sins into the
depths of the sea"), little is
known about the origin of

tashlich. Some scholars have
suggested that it is an imitation
of a pagan rite, while others
point out that fish, like God,
never close their eyes.
(Consequently, we are to
remember that God's eyes are
always upon us and our deeds.)
Others note that fish were
among the first of God's cre-
ations, and so stood as witness-
es to the beginning of the
world. The fish are, in fact, sec-
ondary. If you are interested in
performing a tashlich ceremony
and no sea or fish-filled run-
ning stream are around, you
can drop bits of bread into a
well filled with water, as is usu-
ally done in Israel.
A few other customs associat-
ed with tashlich:
• Some like to shake out
their pockets at the source of
water, likely in reference to a
talmudic verse comparing clean
clothing to moral purity.
• While no one is certain
how long Ashkenazi Jews have
practiced tashlich, it is a fact
that this has been a custom
since the 16th century in the
Sephardic community. Among
its advocates likely was Isaac
Luria (1534-1572), a mystic
from the city of Safed.
Luria, a native of Eastern
Europe, studied Halachah,
then moved to a small island
off the Nile River where he
spent seven isolated years
studying the Zohar.
In his life, Luria attracted a
great deal of attention for his
mystical teachings; after his
death, his reputation only grew
and his teachings inspired one
of the most infamous false mes-
siahs in Jewish history, the
17th-century figure Shabbetai
Tzvi.
• You should drop your
bread bits into the water, of
course, but not purposely to
feed fish. In fact, one is forbid-
den from intentionally feeding
the fish during tashlich.
• Jews from Bulgaria perform
tashlich not on Rosh Hashanah
but on Yom Kippur, while Jews
from Kurdistan often enter the
water while performing the cer-
emony.
• Kabbalists usually add a
few verses from the Zohar dur-
ing their reading of Psalms at
tashlich. ❑

May the coming year be
filled with health and
happiness for all our
family S., friends.
L'Shanah Tovah!

ears

Harriet & Sheldon
Kaplan
Scottsdale, AZ

May the coming year be filled
with health, happiness
and prosperity for all our
family and friends

Madelon, Lou, Melissa
Seligman

L'Shana Tova to all our
friends Et relatives.

Mickie & Sam Orechkin
Delray Beach, FL

Slilt,f,h,27

A

L'Shana Tova- to all our
friends a relatives. I

The Tofts
Marlene, Bernard,
Mike, , Ken, Alyssa

4

L'Shana Tova to all our
friends Et relatives.

'

S*

May the New Year bring to
all our friends and a•
health, joy, prosper-1_
everything good ihs- *

laine & Sheldon Miller

1 Louis & Esther Stybel

I

z

L'Shana Tova to all our
friends Et relatives. I

Rob & Toby Kleinberg 1
& family

Best Wishes for a

happy, healthy
New Year

Mark Pasman, Karen R.
Katanick, lash, Otis
& Bessie Mae

Best Wishes for a
happy, healthy
New Year

Mayer - Helena &
Gail Lebovic

We wish our friends and family
a very healthy, happy and
prosperous New Year.

Michelle, Eliot, Adam & Jamie
Globerson - Chandler, AZ

We wish our friends and family
a very healthy, happy and
prosperous New Year.

• ,s

Girl Girls" - Arlene & Gold

9/26

2003

57

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