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cast all their sins into the depths of the sea

It’s Rosh Hashanah time, Gentle Readers, which is the New Year of the Jewish Calendar, a time of reflection, meditation and resolution, or as the liturgy states, a time of prayer, return to the proper path, and charity. Y’all know this, right?

There’s a rather lovely tradition on Rosh Hashanah that, like many of our traditions, has the force of obligation. It’s called Tashlich; you go to a river and throw bread into the water, symbolically casting your sins from you. It must be running water, a stream or a brook rather than a pond, and if possible it should have fish. There’s a little prayer service to be said, although practice and praxis being what they are, you will hear Micah 7:18-20 somewhat less often than you will hear “Oooh, ducks!”

Like a lot of Jewish rituals around the Days of Awe, it’s an odd combination of public and private. We are encouraged to think specifically of our sins and transgressions, but we don’t have to say out loud what they are. Performing this mitzvah with my Perfect Non-Reader, however, it seemed best to help her by saying a few of mine. “This,” says I as I toss a crumb over the side of the footbridge, “is procrastinating, particularly about housework. And this is thoughtlessness. And this is shouting when I’m frustrated.” She threw chasing her classmates, dawdling, and tattling over the side and watched the stream take them away.

Then the ducks ate them.

But that’s not the point of this note. The point of this note is what occurred to me on the occasion of the New Year: Isn’t it surprising and wonderful that the Shi’a and Sunni Moslems use the same calendar?

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


We had two pairs of mallards yesterday, a better turnout than last year if I recall correctly. And a cormorant passing by in the river, utterly uninterested in our sins.

cormorants only eat early christian symbols, anyway

v, that was beautiful

What I find strange is that I never heard about this tradition until this year, despite, you know, growing up Jewish.

Rosh hashanah is here now. Happy rosh hashanah everybody. Enjoy, the two day holiday.

[This appears to be spam, so I've removed the link, but there's no reason Gentle Readers should not have a nice Rosh Hashanah anyway. Thanks, -V.]

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