Funny Tashlich?

We did Tashlich after services today. Tashlich, of course, is the Medieval Jewish ritual of tearing off piece of bread and reciting a short passage from the prophet Michah. The bread symbolizes our sins that we hope to cast away in the coming days of repentance. In addition to the standard Tashlich liturgy, we shared in the following light-hearted list of Tashlich suggestions as well:

“Taking a few crumbs to Tashlich from whatever old bread is in the house lacks subtlety, nuance and religious sensitivity. Instead, this coming Rosh Hashanah consider these options

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 tasteless sins, Rice Cakes
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, Poppy Seed
For committing arson, Toast
For committing auto theft, Caraway
For being ill tempered, Sourdough
For silliness, Nut Bread
For not giving full value, Shortbread
For jingoism, Yankee Doodles
For excessive use of irony, Rye Bread
For telling bad jokes, Corn Bread
For hardening our hearts, Jelly doughnuts
For being money hungry, Enriched Bread or Raw Dough
For war-mongering, Kaiser Rolls
For immodest dressing, Tarts
For causing injury or damage to others, Tortes
For promiscuity, Hot Buns
For racism, Crackers
For sophisticated racism, Ritz Crackers
For davvening off tune, Flat Bread
For being holier than thou, Bagels
For unfairly upbraiding another, Challah
For indecent photography, Cheese Cake
For trashing the environment, Dumplings
For sins of laziness, Any Very Long Loaf
For sins of pride, Puff Pastry
For lying, Baked Goods with Nutrasweet and Olestra
For wearing tasteless hats, Tam Tams
For the sins of the righteous, Angel Food Cake
For selling your soul, Devils Food Cake
For lust in your heart, Wonder Bread
For inhaling, Stoned Wheat”

Shanah Tovah!

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2 Responses to Funny Tashlich?

  1. R' David October 2, 2008 at 3:50 am #

    Very funny, except: Tashlich has absolutely nothing to do with “tearing off pieces of bread”.

    Although there is a custom to (symbolically) shake one’s hems towards the water, it is specifically FORBIDDEN to feed breadcrumbs to the fish.

  2. davidamwilensky October 2, 2008 at 8:00 am #

    Thanks for the comment, David. But if that R with a little apostrophe stands for Rabbi, I hope you had a more nuanced education than that.

    We can trace the practice back to Rabbi Jacob Molin and his Sefer Maharil. There my also be references to it in Josephus and the Zohar.

    The Shulchan Aruch is in full support of the custom (Torah haOlah 3:56). Though it is true that many do not support the practice such as the Vilna Gaon, and it is generally limited to Ashkenazi communities.

    Today, all mainstream sects find it to be an acceptable practice.