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    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 Origin
    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.
    Live Fish
    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
    of the
    fish are open and we want Hashem
    to look at us with open eyes and forgive
    our sins.
    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
    Hoshanah Rabbah.
    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
    are Said
    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.