Get rid of the bad stuff! It’s time to throw all of our shmutz into the river…!

After the service we go home to eat. There is no afternoon nap on Rosh Hashanah, as is often the case on Shabbat after cholent. Time is too precious on Rosh Hashanah. No sooner are we through with our meal than we go back to shul. On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, mincha is prayed early because of Tashlich, and besides, we want to say as many Psalms as we can manage. Some manage to say the whole book of Psalms over and over again during the two days of Rosh Hashanah. Children vie with each other as to who said more Psalms…

One minyan after another prays mincha as people come in and go off to Tashlich. We pray mincha and join a company of young and old members of our synagogue walking to the nearest park where there's a lake. We fetch a prayerbook with us.

There by the bank of the lake we find lots of Jews from various congregations, young and old, and some truly venerable-looking. There are also many Jewish women there, all saying the Tashlich prayers, and many of them wiping a tear off their faces. Some worshippers have completed saying tashlich and they are shaking the corners of their garments, as if they were finally dumping all their sins into the water. This is symbolic of the words of the prophet, Micah: " …and you shall throw into the depth of the sea all their sins…"

Of course, the mere shaking of the corners of our garments will not shake off the sins. But it does remind us that we must give our heart a thorough cleaning and rid it of all evil. And indeed there is a feeling in our hearts after tashlich as if we have left a heavy burden behind. It's a comforting feeling, and it helps us carry out our good resolutions for the New Year.

Excerpted from The Complete Story of Tishrei, published and copyright by Kehot Publication Society, Brooklyn NY
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Anonymous Tulsa , OK August 8, 2011

As a Christian I don't always understand the significance of the Old Testament writings re: customs, traditions and the meanings of each.

I thank you for making a clear, concise, yet referenced site which gives gentiles an opportunity to read & hopefully begin to understand Jewish faith. Reply

June Ellestad Lolo, MT September 9, 2010

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