Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rosh HaShana - Happy Jewish New Year - and a New Queer Spin on the Ancient ceremony of TASHLICH

Apples and Honey.

And an ancient ceremony that, updated, is pretty cool.

The idea of Tashlich is that you can take your "sins," symbolically put them into something (usually crusts of bread), and then throw them away (usually into a river or the ocean). Thus, you are "cleansed" and ready for the 10 day period of contemplation in between Rosh HaShana (literally "head of the year") and Yom Kippur, the day of atonement.

The idea is that those 10 days are when you are supposed to take stock of how you're living your life, ask forgiveness from anyone you've wronged, and set yourself on a path to be the best you possible in the year ahead. That's the whole Jewish New Year thing, and why there are two holidays, 10 days apart.

I'd like to suggest this update to the ancient Tashlich (literally "sending out") ceremony:

As opposed to thinking of it as casting away (or the first step to absolution for) your sins or mis-deeds, I think it's a great way to symbolically free yourself from negativity.

I like the idea of imagining all my negative thoughts - my self-doubt, my cynicism, my lack of respect for myself I sometimes feel - and putting those emotions symbolically onto scraps of bread. Throwing THOSE negative things away, and freeing myself from them.

And then, into that space, letting myself be filled up with positive thoughts and energy. With belief in myself. With hope. With respect for my efforts.

It's a way to remind myself that in my life, I should be my own biggest cheerleader, not my main obstacle to achieving what I want.

So try it. Go down to the river, or the ocean, or heck, flush some cracker crumbs down the toilet. Free yourself from negativity. Then leave the bathroom, and go outside, and breath in the clear positive energy of a new year.

Ancient wisdom, made new.

L'Shana Tova u Metuka u Briah (Here's to a good and sweet and healthy New Year!)




Saints and Spinners said...

I know the Yiddish "A zissah nayah yahr" (or whatever is the correct phonetic spelling. I appreciate your take on the symbolism of casting sins away in crusts of bread, but I think flushing cracker crumbs down the toilet will only elicit giggles around here and leave me with a lot of explaining to do.

Rita said...

An extraordinarily timely and helpful post. Thank you. :)