Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tashlich - Throwing bread in the water?


A custom has developed in America, with some scattered precedent elsewhere, of bringing bread to throw to the fish at Tashlich. [The custom is not mentioned in any of the numerous works of Jewish law that discuss Tashlich. There are some communities with customs of shaking out the corners of their cloaks, to symbolize ridding ourselves of sin.]

Apparently, the custom did not originate with Tashlich itself, but rather was a way to entertain children while adults recited Tashlich.

This custom is problematic, though, for we may not feed animals/fish/birds, other than those that depend on us for food, on Yom Tov. [This is because of a concern that one might try to catch one of the creatures, and trapping is prohibited on Yom Tov. Most authorities rule that this applies even where one stands at a distance from the fish, so that trapping is unlikely.]

Therefore, I do not recommend bringing bread.

Have a great day,

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