12 Sep TASHLICH
The Custom of
We all know that
when it comes to
Rosh Hashanah there
is a custom to go
to tashlich and say
tefillos there. Those
who don’t go then go
during aseres yemi
teshuva. Where did
this custom come from? What are the
reasons for this? Should one go to water?
Does one have to go to a river or ocean
with fish? Which Days? What Time?
Should Women go? All these and other
issues will be addressed in this article.
The custom of tashlich is not documented
in the earlier sources of the Gemorah, and
Shulchan Aruch. The first place where
this is brought is in the writings of the
Maharil where he states the following:
the custom is to go to the river on Rosh
Hashanah after the seuda to throwaway
to the sea all our sins. There ar e many
other seforim which bringthis custom as
There are many reasons given for this
custom. We will list a few of them: When
Avraham was going to the Akeida with
Yitzchok the satan wanted to stop him
so he made a river in front of him and
the water reached his neck he raised
his eyes to Hashem and davened. At
which point Hashem made the satan go
away. Therefore we go to the river on
Rosh Hashanah as a remembrance to the
akeida (and Hashem will make the satan
go away from us as well). Furthermore,
since we resemble ourselves by going to
the water throwing our sins away.
Spreading of Custom
Although the custom is not mentioned in
the common earlier sources, and was not
practiced, this custom is practiced today
by both Sefradim and Ashkenazim.This
custom was not done in the times of the
Rama whoseopinion the Ashkenazim
follow. The custom of the Gra was not to
go to a river and say tashlich. Others say
it is possible the Gra said tashlich just not
by a river etc.
The question arises when going for
tashlich does one have to go to a river
with fish or can one go to a pond
which only has water. The Rama
(and others) says one should go
to a place with live fish since it
is done to avoid ayin hara and
we should multiply like fish. The
Matei Moshe (and others) says
that we go to a place which has
life fish as a semblance that we
are compared to fish just as fish
are caught in a net rather quickly
we too are caught in the net of din
and therefore, we will do teshuva
and repent. Furthermore, the eyes
fish are open and we want Hashem
to look at us with open eyes and forgive
Others say we are comparable to fish
since if fish did not have water they
would die, without Torah and mitzvos we
would die as well.
Where to Go
From the sources mentioned above one
should go to rivers or lakes. Others
mention that one should go out of the city
and there is no difference on the body of
water. In many areas if there are no rivers
or lakes such as in Yerushalayim many
have the custom to go to a pit or even a
sink and say tashlich there.
When to Go
The main time for one to do tashlich
is on the first day of Rosh Hashanah.
Most poskim maintain one goes after
mincha before Shekia. The custom is
not to be makpid on saying tashlich
right before shekia but anytime
beforehand as well. However, If one
sees that he will not have be able to go
after mincha he may go before mincha.
Others maintain initially one can go
after the meal (which
is before mincha). One of the reasons
to go after mincha is that Yitzchok
established mincha and on the first
day of Rosh Hashanah was when
Yitzchok was brought on the akeida.
Furthermore, at mincha times is when
ones tefillos can be answered more
than other tefillos.
Some maintain if one is going on the
second day he should go after Mussaf.
Others have the custom to go to tashlich
as late as Chol Hamoed Succos before
When Rosh Hashanah falls on Shabbos
one can go on Shabbos to do tashlich
as well, others say that this should not
be done (mainly out of a concern of
carrying), and if one wants he can go
on the second day. The Shevus Yaakov
speaks in strong terms that one should
go to tashlich on Shabbos.
One who goes on Shabbos should make
sure not to carry anything out of the eiruv,
or bread etc to throw to the fish.
On the Day When the Thirteen Midos
Many have the custom to go to tashlich
on the day that the thirteen midos are
recited in a piyut during selichos of
aseres yemi teshuva. This is the custom
in many circles such as Munkatsh,
Vihsnitz, Bobov, Skever and others.The
reason for not going on Rosh Hashanah
is due to the length of the davening and
the lack of time to go.
Throwing Bread to Fish
When one goes to tashlich on Rosh
Hashanah he may not carry along with
him bread to throw to the fish.
Shake ends of Garments
The custom of some is to shake off ones
corner of his garment which has tzitzis at
tashlich, while many others say ones
garment. Some give the reason as
an indication of holding one sinsand
throwing them away. The Kaf Hachaim
says when shaking the garment it should
be done over the water. There are
differing opinions as to the proper time
during the reciting of the tashlich that
one should shake his garment.
Women Going to Tashlich
There is a discussion in the poskim
whether women should go to the rivers
and lakes and do tashlich.
The custom is that women go to do
tashlich just as men. However, in some
places women tend to go to tashlich and
mingle with men. This practice is not
advisable on the day where everyone
is judged for their actions and was
frowned upon by many (even if no men
are present). Therefore, if this is being
done this should be stopped and women
should not go to these places. Others say
that even if men are present the fear of
judgment of the day will avoid any issues.
When one recites tashlich he should have
in mind that his sins should be removed.