October 10, 2008

Tashlich- casting sins upon the water

I periodically look at childrens books and any related to the calendar days. We can learn so much from these stories (I love pastor Aram's children sermons at our church, for this same learning from 'becoming as a child'!). I've found stories for the Jewish celebrations that are very meaningful (and adding Christianity along with the Jewish festivals adds greater depth).

One story had a pretty cantankerous, nasty man, open a door all the time and sweep his dirt into the basement. And then once a year, he'd go down into the basement and bag up all the dirt, garbage and junk. He's shown carrying these bulky large bags out to the beach where he deposits everything into the sea.

There's a ritual the Jews have added beyond what's in Leviticus 23, doing sometime during the 10 High Holy Days. It's called Tashlich, which means "casting off", and it consists of a symbolic casting of one's sins into a river or body of water. It most likely comes from Micah 7:18-19--"where is the god who can compare with you - wiping the slate clean of guilt ... mercy is what you love most ... you'll cast all our sins into the depths of the sea."


Go for a walk with family and friends. Wear something with pockets and gather stones as you walk. You could even give the stones some specific names of things you'd like cleaned up in your life. Then turn the pockets inside-out, tossing the stones into the water.


I've always noticed rocks and have collected some since I was a kid. I can imagine finding a pretty one and not wanting to throw it away. Isn't that much like things in our life? "I don't want to give this up yet!" Once thrown into the water, we couldn't find that rock again. "As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our sins from us" says Psalms 103:12.

Have fun throwing stones into the water. Skip some stones across the water. Wanting to get rid of sins can be just as enjoyable.

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