As the Jewish New Year approaches, I wanted to highlight a unique and meaningful Rosh Hashanah tradition and invite fellow St. Louisans to make it local, fun, and meaningful.
Tashlich, a centuries-old Jewish tradition observed during the High Holidays, is a beautiful practice that encourages self-reflection, growth, and renewal. On Rosh Hashanah, individuals gather by a body of water to cast away their “sins” symbolically, using breadcrumbs. It’s like pressing the reset button on your conscience, offering you a fresh start while letting the river carry away the weight of past mistakes.
This year let’s take Tashlich down to The Mississippi River, a behemoth of nature, which has always held a certain charm and significance. As you stand on its banks, you can’t help but feel the river’s history and its unwavering flow, much like the passage of time. This dynamic river becomes a mirror, reflecting the essence of Tashlich – to let go, flow with life, and rejuvenate the spirit.
Follow these simple instructions for your Tashlich on the Mighty Mississippi:
Gather the Troops: Invite friends, family, and even newcomers to join the Tashlich festivities. The more, the merrier!
Breadcrumbs and Beyond: Grab a handful of breadcrumbs, cereals, or even colorful confetti – anything that symbolizes the “stuff” you want to let go of. Some use birdseed, while others might use fish food. Bonus points for creativity!
Ritual on the Riverbanks: Find a spot by the Mississippi, where the water’s gentle waves provide the perfect backdrop. As you toss your chosen items into the river, allow yourself to consider blunders big and small from the past year and reflect on a path towards self improvement. Bring a Bluetooth speaker and play some soulful tunes of your own choosing or Rosh Hashanah prayers.
Shared Reflection: Encourage those around you to share lighthearted stories of their own slip-ups. As the anecdotes flow, you’ll realize that being human means we are all fallible but have the capacity for teshuvah (repentance) and tikkun olam (repairing the world).
Embrace Renewal: Take a moment to soak in the tranquility of the river. Reflect on the journey ahead, and embrace the sense of renewal that comes with the Tashlich experience.
Tashlich is an opportunity to release your baggage, find camaraderie among fellow mistake-makers, and let the river’s timeless flow remind you that growth and renewal are constants in life’s ever-changing rhythm. So, this Rosh Hashanah, grab your breadcrumbs, gather your crew, and take the Tashlich experience down to the Mighty Mississippi. Your heart will feel lighter, and your spirit will dance to the rhythm of a new beginning.