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A Central Ritual: Tashlich; Letting Go of Our Sins

September 3, 2021 | General News | Worship and High Holidays

What do breadcrumbs have to do with forgiveness? During the High Holidays, as we begin a new Jewish year, we engage with our tradition in several ways: tefilah (prayer), tzedakah (righteous giving) and teshuvah (asking forgiveness). Then, there’s tashlich, the act of casting crumbs into a moving body of water, symbolically indicating that we will not return to our misdeeds in the future. To Maimonides, the 12th century Sephardic rabbi and philosopher, our words of apology are significant only insofar as we do not repeat our harmful ways. By making a grand gesture to let go of the past, perhaps we are able to release the guilt or shame we felt from our behavior – and grow from the experience. Indeed, sometimes, the hardest person to forgive is ourselves.

This resource guide featuring readings handpicked by Rabbi Ari Lorge should give you everything you need to know and do to fulfill the practice of Tashlich, the symbolic casting away of our sins on Rosh Hashanah.

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