Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Tashlich

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Last week after peaceful Rosh Hashanah services, we headed off to a favorite spot along the Chicago River for Tashlich.

When they boys were young and we didn't belong to a synagogue, we'd invite our friends to these woods and celebrate the "birthday of the world" with stories, songs, talk about what we'd try to do better in the new year and of course, challah with apples and honey.

Tashlich (tosh-leehk) is a ritual casting away of one's sins from the past year. This quiet spot in the woods is a great place for reflecting on the past and thinking about the one ahead. And as you can see there is a lovely body of water for dropping in bread crumbs and pocket lint (symbols of our misdeeds).

The problem is that no place is quiet and pensive if my boys are around.

Given their boisterous nature, I was surprised to spot another, calmer family in the forest preserve.
This time of year, it is customary to apologize to those you hurt, or may have hurt through words and actions. The Jewish concept of sin, is taken from the word's Hebrew meaning, which is to miss the mark.

Surely you have missed the mark in some ways this past year. I certainly have. And I ask for your forgiveness.

I had a boss who once put it quite bluntly. He'd walk around the office saying, "Sorry for being an a**hole."

I like the way my rabbi put it in this Rosh Hashanah reading:

And let us face the honest truth of our humanity:
while we harbor a terrifying capacity for destruction and violence
we never, ever forfeit the ability to choose another way:
the path of forgiveness and reconciliation
the way of Shalom.

Wishing you the path of Shalom, peace, in the year ahead.


Sara @ Saving For Someday said...

Your explanation of Tashlich and how your family celebrates and observes is beautiful. This year, Tashlich has been especially difficult for me as I come to the discovery that I can't forgive certain people for the sin which they have committed against me (and my family). But I did realize that I can forgive myself and stop blaming myself, that forgiveness is something we do for ourselves.

I, too, missed the mark. Not only with others but with myself. And I thank you for sharing your thoughts and views on this beautiful but not often observed holiday.

Shanah Tova, U'metukah!

Kim Moldofsky said...

Yes, we must learn to forgive ourselves, too. We all missed the mark in some form or another.

When I told my boys we were going to do Tashlich, one of they whined, "But every year we wind up apologizing for the same things." In his case, fighting with his brother! But we reminded both boys that we are but frail humans, we'll always make mistakes, but that shouldn't stop us from trying to improve. Some day our hard internal work will pay off...right?

Laura (@chambanalaura) said...

This is really beautiful. Thank you Kim! And Shanah Tovah, can't wait to see you soon!

Melisa with one S said...

I love Tashlich. When I teach it in my 2nd grade religious school class, I grab some paper scraps that the temple office always seems to have, and I ask my class to write something they have done that they are sorry for. When everyone is finished, I call them up one by one and give them the option to share with the class or not, and then after they do (or don't!), they crumble up the piece of paper and put it in the recycle bin.

countryfriedmama said...

This is the first year I've ever done Tashlich, and it certainly was not the peaceful experience it might have been had we been by a wooded stream -- we were at an enormous dinner with 20 kids and 20+ adults, and we held our Tashlich service at the edge of a baby pool. Which, apparently, is "legal." Who knew? Next year, I'm voting for the wooded stream, though.

Mara ~ Kosher on a Budget said...

Love this! I found your post from a tweet via @Savingforsomeday. Our Tashlich was in the misty rain and not the most spiritual for me this year. But my kids enjoyed emptying out their crumby pockets, so that's always fun.

Catherine said...

Thanks for this.

Anne Keisman said...

I love this post. Especially the photos of your kids and the deer. Talk about connecting with nature. Thanks for sharing with the Founding Mothers Group.

Anne Keisman

Houseonahillorg said...

Kim ~ This was a beautiful post

Asha {Parent Hacks} said...

How beautiful. I've never celebrated/observed Jewish holidays in more than the most superficial ways. But my kids are about to start Sunday school (!) and I am looking forward to learning all about these rituals. I've got plenty of casting away to do, that's for sure.

Can't wait to see you again and pick up where we left off!

Nikki @ Mommy Factor said...

Thanks for sharing. It's nice to learn things from other cultures

Meowmie said...

Beautiful post, Kim. Peace to you and your family.