Many Jewish traditions link water to purification. We ritually wash our hands before meals. We immerse in the mikvah at moments of transition and transformation. And during Tishrei, the month of the High Holidays, we use water to cast our sins away in a ritual called tashlich. 

Tashlich is a simple but powerful ritual. Start by finding a large, natural body of flowing water like a lake, river, sea or ocean. If there's fish in the water, even better. Fish getting unintentionally caught in nets symbolize people getting accidentally stuck in bad situations. Line your pockets with crumbs of bread, flower petals, pieces of leaves or other natural materials that will disintegrate safely in the water. These will symbolize your sins. 

As you stand at the water's edge, reflect on where you have made mistakes in the past year. Read some of the poems and psalms in this booklet, or take a moment to meditate and reflect on your actions. Take a walk, sing a song or even wade into the water if it's safe to do so. 

Pause for a moment. Look at the water as you take the crumbs or leaves from your pockets. One by one, cast them into the water, exhaling and releasing each sin as you are ready. 

"Whatever falls into the deep is lost forever," The Zohar


Type of Custom: High Holiday

Holiday/Event: High Holidays