Tashlich – “Joy to the World – and to the fishes in the deep blue sea”

By Rabbi Mark Melamut

Find some running water for the Tashlich ceremony. Photograph by Gabriele Lange, 2013.

Find some running water for the Tashlich ceremony. Photograph by Gabriele Lange, 2013.

Join the Jewish people this Rosh Hashana 5774, as we schlep to the beach following services (after changing into sandals of course) on day 1 of Rosh Hashana for this ancient ritual. Actually, Ocean Beach is only a 3 block walk (not much of a schlep) from B’nai Emunah. We will use this innovative service to guide us, while our toes enjoy the cool of the sand, and we are refreshed by the salty air, and cool blue green of the Pacific Ocean.
Consider using this guide yourself at the closest body of fresh water near you. It is a rich combination of both ancient and contemporary readings, plus lyrics by the Beatles and Three Dog Night, sprinkled with just a bit of concluding humor.

May you have a sweet, healthy, and hearty New Year.
Rabbi Mark Melamut

Tashlich 5774

Tashlich is a remarkable ceremony – symbolic and concrete all at the same time. Through this ritual, we express not only our desire to be free from sin but our continuing hope that we will be forgiven for past misdeeds. On the afternoon of the first day of Rosh Hashanah — or on the second day, if the first day is a Shabbat — it is customary to go to a flowing body of water and to recite prayers while “casting” our sins (represented by bread crumbs) into the water. As we read in Micah: “You will cast (Tashlich) all your sins into the depths of the sea” (7:19).

By performing Tashlich, we signify our hope that God will overlook
our failings during the past year and grant us favor in the year to come.
The preferred “order” for the bodies of water is (l) the sea, (2) a river,
(3) a lake, spring, or fountain. If there is no such water within walking
distance; in the case of inclement weather; or if one did not perform the
ceremony on Rosh Hashanah for any reason, then Tashlich may be
performed at any time up to Yom Kippur.

According to some customs, the body of water we visit should have fish
in it. It has been suggested that this helps to remind us of our precarious
existence and thus puts us in the mood to repent. It has also been
suggested that we be may compared to fish caught in the net of divine
judgment.

While it is traditional to shake out the hems of one’s clothing to ensure
that all “sins” have been disposed of, Tashlich ceremonies differ all
over the world. The Jews of Kurdistan had a custom to recite the
Tashlich prayer near a river and then to jump into the water and swim
around, instead of only shaking out the hems of their clothing.

Songs & Readings

  1.  Eli, Eli Shelo yigamer le’olam

Hachol vehayam
Rishrush shel hamayim
Berak hashamayim
Tefilat ha’adam.

My God, My God
I pray that these things never end:
The sand and the sea
The rush of the water
The crash of the heavens
The prayer of my heart.

(2.)  

Today we come to this body of water to perform the Tashlich
ceremony, seeking symbolically to “cast away” our accumulated
sins and transgressions so that we may purify our hearts and our souls,
as the new year begins.

Let us cast away the sin of deception, so that we will mislead no one in
word or deed, nor pretend to be what we are not.

Let us cast away the sin of vain ambition, which prompts us to
strive for goals which bring neither true fulfillment nor genuine
contentment.

Let us cast away the sin of stubbornness, so that we will neither persist
in foolish habits nor fail to acknowledge our will to change.

Let us cast away the sin of envy, so that we will neither be
consumed by desire for what we lack nor grow unmindful of the
blessings which are already ours.

Let us cast away the sin of selfishness, which keeps us from enriching
our lives through wider concerns and great sharing and from reaching
out in love to other human beings.

Let us cast away the sin of indifference, so that we may be sensitive
to the sufferings of others and responsive to the needs of people
everywhere.

Let us cast away the sin of pride and arrogance, so that we can worship
God and serve God’s purpose in humility and truth.

(3.) Yellow Submarine (the Beatles)

In the town where I was born,
Lived a man who sailed to sea,
And he told us of his life,
In the land of submarines,

So we sailed on to the sun,
Till we found the sea green,
And we lived beneath the waves,
In our yellow submarine,

We all live in a yellow submarine,
yellow submarine, yellow submarine,
We all live in a yellow submarine,
yellow submarine, yellow submarine.

And our friends are all aboard,
Many more of them live next door,
And the band begins to play.

(Trumpets play)

We all live in a yellow submarine,
yellow submarine, yellow submarine,
We all live in a yellow submarine,
yellow submarine, yellow submarine.

(Full speed ahead, Mr. Barkley, full speed ahead!
Full speed over here, sir!
All together! All together!
Aye, aye, sir, fire!
Captain! Captain!)

As we live a life of ease (life of ease)
Every one of us(every one of us) has all we need, (has all we need)
Sky of blue, (sky of blue) and sea green, (sea of green)
In our yellow (In our yellow) submarine.(submarine) ( Haha! )

We all live in a yellow submarine,
yellow submarine, yellow submarine,
We all live in a yellow submarine,
yellow submarine, yellow submarine

(4.)  Micah 7:18-20

Who is a God like You, forgiving iniquity and pardoning the
transgression of the remnant of Your people? You do not
maintain anger forever but You delight in loving-kindness. You
will again have compassion upon us, subduing our sins, casting
all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will show faithfulness
to Jacob and enduring love to Abraham, as You promised our
fathers from days of old.

(5.) Isaiah 11:9

None shall hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the love of Adonai shall fill the earth as the waters fill the sea.
Isaiah 54:10
For the mountains may move and the hills shake; but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall my covenant of peace be taken away – says Adonai, who has taken you back in love.

(6.) Joy to the World (Three Dog Night)

Jeremiah was a bull frog
Was a good friend of mine
I never understood a single word he said
But I helped him drink his wine
Yes he always had some mighty fine wine

Joy to the world
All the boys and girls, now
Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea
Joy to you and me

If I were the King of the world
Tell you what I’d do
I’d throw away the cars and the bars and the wars
And make sweet love to you
And make sweet love to you

Joy to the world
All the boys and girls, now
Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea
Joy to you and me

Casting Our “Crumbs”
Richard Israel’s Crumb List © 1997
Taking a few crumbs to Tashlich from whatever old bread is in the
house lacks subtlety, nuance and religious sensitivity. I would
suggest that we can do better. Instead:

For ordinary sins, use – White Bread
For exotic sins – French Bread
For particularly dark sins – Pumpernickel
For complex sins – Multi-grain
For twisted sins – Pretzels

For sins of indecision – Waffles
For sins committed in haste – Matzah
For sins committed in less than eighteen minutes – Shmurah Matzah
For sins of chutzpah – Fresh Bread
For substance abuse/marijuana – Stoned Wheat

For substance abuse/heavy drugs – Poppy Seed
For arson – Toast
For timidity – Milk Toast
For high-handedness – Napoleons
For being sulky – Sourdough
For not giving full value – Short bread
For silliness – Nut Bread
For jingoism – Yankee Doodles
For telling bad jokes – Corn Bread

For being money-hungry – Enriched Bread or Raw Dough
For telling small lies – Fudge
For war-mongering – Kaiser Rolls
For promiscuity – Hot Buns
For racism – Crackers

For unfairly up-braiding others – Challah
For being holier-than-thou – Bagels
For provocative dressing – Wonton Wrappers
For indecent photography – Cheese Cake
For snobbery – Upper Crusts

For trashing the environment – Dumplings
For being hypercritical – Pan Cakes
For the sin of laziness – Any Very Long Loaf
For political skullduggery – Bismarcks

For over-eating – Stuffing Bread
For gambling – Fortune Cookies
For pride – Puff Pastry
For being snappish – Ginger Bread

For recurring slip ups – Banana Bread
For davening off tune – Flat Bread
For impetuosity – Quick Bread
For silliness – Nut Bread
For auto theft – Caraway

For risking one’s life unnecessarily – Hero Bread
For excessive use of irony – Rye Bread

“My G-d, the soul which you gave me is pure…as long as it is within me, I acknowledge You…Blessed are You, who restores the soul to the exhausted body.” (siddur, elohai n’shama morning prayer)

“My G-d, the soul which you gave me is pure…as long as it is within me, I acknowledge You…Blessed are You, who restores the soul to the exhausted body.” (siddur, elohai n’shama morning prayer)

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About Gabriele Lange

Multi Media Consultant in SF Bay Area WebDesign at City College 2008-2011 Professional Photographer since 1998 Lived in Berlin, Germany between 1987-1994
This entry was posted in Congregation News, High Holidays, Jewish Holidays, Jewish Learning and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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