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Tashlikh


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The ceremony in which sins are symbolically cast into water, after the verse: ‘Thou wilt cast [ve-tashlikh] their sins into the depths of the sea’ (Micah 7: 19). Tashlikh is observed on the first day of Rosh Ha-Shanah (the second if the first day falls on the Sabbath). Jews repair to a river or the sea to cast therein their sins, while reciting scriptural verses (Micah 7: 18–20; Psalms 118: 5–8 and 130; Isaiah 11: 9). In some rites Kabbalistic passages and prayers are also recited. A further custom is for the garments to be shaken as a token of total cleansing by casting away every vestige of sin.

The tashlikh ceremony is not found in any of the ancient sources, although Isserles (Shulhan Arukh, Orah Hayyim, 584: 2) records it as a custom to be followed. The earliest reference is by Jacob Moellin, the Maharil (d. 1425), in his compendium of customs observed by German Jews.

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies.


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