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Rosh Hashanah


Tashlikh (Hebrew: תשליך‎, meaning "casting off") is a long-standing Jewish practice performed on the first afternoon of Rosh Hashanah , the Jewish New Year, unless it falls on a Saturday, in which case it is postponed to the next day. The previous year's sins are symbolically "cast off" by throwing pieces of bread, or a similar food item, into a large, natural body of flowing water (such as a river, lake, sea or ocean).

The name "Tashlikh" and the practice itself are derived from the Biblical passage (Micah 7:18-20) recited at the ceremony: "You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea."

The earliest reference to the custom is found in the 15th-century Sefer ha-Maharil by Rabbi Jacob Mölin of Germany. Although he forbade the use of breadcrumbs in the ceremony (especially on the Sabbath), his prohibition was not heeded.

He recounts a rabbinic Midrash about the binding in which Satan, by throwing himself across Abraham's path in the form of a deep stream, endeavored to prevent him from sacrificing Isaac on Mount Moriah. Abraham and Isaac nevertheless plunged into the river up to their necks and prayed for divine aid, whereupon the river disappeared.

Many Jews in New York City perform the ceremony each year in large numbers from the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges.


Caption: Jews praying on Brooklyn Bridge [i.e. Williamsburg Bridge] on New Years Day, 1919. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.



Adapted from Wikipedia.

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