A Tashlich How-To

What is Tashlich?

Tashlich is the ceremony of symbolically tossing one’s sins into a body of water.

When does it take place?

Tashlich usually takes place on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, although it can be performed until Hoshana Raba which occurs at the end of the festival of Sukkot.

How is Tashlich done?

The ceremony consists of reciting prayers asking God to treat us with mercy. Some people have the tradition of throwing pieces of bread, representing one’s sins, into the water while others forbid this practice feeling that it is superstitious in nature.

The first paragraph of Tashlich ​​​​​​​is below:

מִי אֵל כָּמֽוֹךָ: נֹשֵׂא עָו‍ֹן: וְעֹבֵר עַל פֶּֽשַׁע: לִשְׁאֵרִית נַחֲלָתוֹ: לֹא הֶחֱזִיק לָעַד אַפּוֹ: כִּי חָפֵץ חֶֽסֶד הוּא: יָשׁוּב יְרַחֲמֵֽנוּ: יִכְבּשׁ עֲו‍ֹנֹתֵֽינוּ: וְתַשְׁלִיךְ בִמְצֻלוֹת יָם כָּל־חַטֹּאתָם: תִּתֵּן אֱמֶת לְיַעֲקֹב: חֶֽסֶד לְאַבְרָהָם: אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּֽעְתָּ לַאֲבֹתֵֽינוּ: מִימֵי קֶֽדֶם: מִן הַמֵּצַר קָרָאתִי יָהּ עָנָנִי בַּמֶּרְחָב יָהּ: ה' לִי לֹא אִירָא מַה יַעֲשֶׂה לִי אָדָם: ה' לִי בְּעוֹזְרָי וַאֲנִי אֶרְאֶה בְּשׂוֹנְאָי: טוֹב לַחֲסוֹת בַּה' מִבְּטֹֽחַ בָּאָדָם: טוֹב לַחֲסוֹת בַּה' מִבְּטֹֽחַ בִּנְדִיבִים:
Who is an Almighty like You Forbearer of iniquity, and forgiver of transgression for the remnant of His heritage? He does not maintain His wrath forever, for He desires to do kindness. He will again show us compassion, He will suppress our iniquities; and You will cast into the depths of the sea all their sins. You will grant truth to Yaakov, kindness to Avraham, as You swore to our fathers from the days of old. From the narrowness [of distress] I called [to] God; He answered me with the breadth of Divine relief. Adonoy is with me, I will not fear, what can man do to me? Adonoy is with me, to help me, and I will see my enemies’ [defeat]. It is better to take refuge in Adonoy than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in Adonoy than to trust in nobles.

Tashlich on the Beach in Tel Aviv, 1971, Dan Hadani Archive, National Library of Israel

Thoughts about Tashlich

  • What would you like to throw away this year? What actions or words do you regret?
  • How does it feel to rid oneself of regretful actions?
  • Do you feel that symbolically tossing out your regrets is enough?