Tashlich on Rosh Hashanah

This article is an excerpt from our Sefer

Buy me here or on Amazon.com

Tashlich:[1]

It is customary[2] to go on Rosh Hashanah to a river[3] [or well or spring[4]] to recite Tashlich.[5]

When is it recited? Tashlich is recited after Mincha[6], on the first day of Rosh Hashanah[7], prior to sunset[8].

Where is it recited? Tashlich is to be recited near a river that contains live fish.[9] [See Q&A regarding if a river is not available.] It is best to be recited near a river that is outside the city.[10]

 

Shaking one’s Tallis Katan:[11]

At the conclusion of Tashlich[12] one shakes the ends of his Tallis Katan.[13] [Some[14] emphasize that one is to shake the Tallis specifically over the body of water.]

 

Carrying the Siddur:

On Yom Tov we are not particular against carrying items that have a need for Yom Tov even in an area without an Eiruv.[15] Thus we carry the Siddur to say Tashlich. Some of the Rabbeim however were particular against doing so.[16] This is not meant as a directive for the public.[17]

 

Summary:

Tashlich is recited after Mincha, prior to sunset, on the first day of Rosh Hashanah. Tashlich is to be recited near a river, well, or spring that contains live fish. It is best to be recited near a river that is outside the city. At the conclusion of Tashlich one shakes the ends of his Tallis Katan. Some emphasize that one is to shake the Tallis specifically over the body of water.

 

Q&A

May one recite Tashlich before Mincha in a time of need?[18]

Although the custom is to say Tashlich after Mincha, if one assesses that he will not have time to go after Mincha then he should go beforehand. Likewise if one is unable to return from the river at night then he may recite Tashlich before Mincha while there remains time in the day to return.

 

May one say Tashlich after sunset if he did not do so beforehand?[19]

Yes. The custom is to allow saying Tashlich up until Tzeis Hakochavim if one did not do so beforehand.

 

What is one to do if a river, well or spring is not available in one’s city?

In a case that a river, well, or spring is not available in one’s area, then some are accustomed to walk to an area from which they can see a river, sea or other body of water, even if it is very far.[20] In Yerushalayim some were accustomed to recite Tashlich near the opening of a water pit, even if it is currently dry of water.[21] If this too is not available then one may go to any body of water, even an open faucet.[22]

 

May one feed the fish by the river?[23]

No. It is forbidden to feed fish on Yom Tov [unless they are in an aquarium and dependent on humans for their food]. 

 

If one did not say Tashlich on the first day of Rosh Hashanah when should it be said?

Some Poskim[24] rule it is to be said on the second day of Rosh Hashanah after Mincha, prior to sunset. Others[25] rule it is to be said on the second day, after Musaf. If one was unable to go on the second day then he may go any day throughout Aseres Yimei Teshuvah.[26] Nevertheless it is best to say it on the day before Erev Yom Kippur which is called “Yom Yud Gimel Middos”.[27]

 

When is Tashlich recited if the first day of Rosh Hashanah falls on Shabbos:[28]

If the first day of Rosh Hashanah falls on Shabbos some Poskim[29] rule that Tashlich is recited on the second day of Rosh Hashanah which is Sunday.[30] Other Poskim[31] rule one is to recite Tashlich on Shabbos. Practically the Chabad custom is to recite Tashlich on the second day of Rosh Hashanah.[32] It is to be performed after Mincha [prior to sunset] on Sunday.[33]

 

Are women to say Tashlich?

Many women are accustomed to recite Tashlich.[34] Nevertheless they are not to go to an area where there are men as this can lead to promiscuity and sin. Some Poskim[35] denounce the custom of women saying Tashlich due to this reason.

 

The meaning of Tashlich

Commemoration of Akeidas Yitzchak:[36]

The Midrash[37] states that when Avraham Avinu traveled to perform Akeidas Yitzchak the Satan created a river to prevent him from performing the Mitzvah. When the water reached his neck Avraham cried “Hoshia Hashem Ki Bau Mayim Ad Nafesh”.

 

The Coronation of Hashem as King:[38]

An alternative reason for saying Tashlich is because it is customary to anoint Kings near a river. Hence since on Rosh Hashanah we desire to crown Hashem as our King we go to a river to arouse this coronation.

 

Sparks of Kabala

Throwing away sins:

According to Kabala the saying of Tashlich represents the throwing of all of one’s Kelipos that were created through sin into the supernal seas. It is for this reason that Tashlich is recited near a river.[39] The public however confuses this and says that the sins are thrown into the river.[40]

 

The meaning of the water and fish:[41]

Water represents Chesed while fish represent the level of “Eina Pikcha”. [This means as follows: The level of Eina Pikcha in the supernal worlds represents mercy, as it refers to that Hashem is constantly guiding us with merciful eyes. Fish do not have eyelids and hence keep their eyes open on a constant basis. This represents the arousal of mercy of the level of Eina Pikcha that is found above.[42]]

 

Kavanos:[43]

While by the river one is to recite the thirteen Middos that are in the verse “Mi Keil Kamocha” which correspond to the thirteen attributes of “Hashem Hashem Keil Rachum etc”. One is to intend by each attribute to one of the attributes of the verse “Hashem Hashem Keil Rachum etc”. However they should not be verbalized. Afterwards one recites Min Hameitzar etc which correspond to the nine Middos of Hashem Erech Apayim etc”.

 


[1] 583/7; Siddur; Rama 583/2 in name of Minhagim; Drashos Maharil R”H

Background of the custom: This custom is first cited in the Mahril ibid and is recorded in numerous Sifrei Minhagim and Poskim of Ashkenazi Jewry. Some of the reasons recorded behind the custom are a) to resemble Akeidas Yitzchak [see “The meaning of Tashlich”]; b) To throw the Kelipos into the supernal waters. [See Sparks of Kabala]. The seeing of fish by the river also has significance, although it is secondary to the main purpose of Tashlich. [So is evident from wording in Shlah p. 214 “and consequently one also sees fish”] See Kitzur SHU”A 129/21 where all the reasons are brought.

Wording of Admur in 583/7: It is customary to go [on Rosh Hashanah] to a river which contains live fish as an omen that the evil eye should not have authority over us. It is also an omen for us to be blessed to multiply like fish. At the river one recites the verse “Yashuv Uyirachameinu” and “Vesashlich” etc. [as printed in the Siddur] as well as the verse of “Mi Kel Kamocha”. It is best to go [to recite Tashlich near a river which contains live fish] that is outside of the city. One is to go to recite Tashlich on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, after Mincha, prior to sunset and one is to recite there the verse of “Mi Kel Kamocha”.

Wording of Admur in Siddur: After Mincha on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, prior to sunset, it is proper to go to outside of the city to a well of water or a spring, as water represents Chesed while fish represent the level of “Eina Pikcha”. While there one is to recite the thirteen Middos that are in the verse “Mi Kel Kamocha” which correspond to the thirteen attributes of “Hashem Hashem Keil Rachum etc” One is to intend by each attribute to one of the attributes of the verse “Hashem Hashem Kiel Rachum etc”. However they should not be verbalized. Afterwards one recites Min Hameitzar etc which correspond to the nine Middos of Hashem Erech Apayim etc”.

The Rebbe’s Tashlich: For an accounting of the Rebbe’s Tashlich see Otzer Minhagei Chabad 351. [In the earlier years the Rebbe went to the Botanical gardens; One year there was a lot of rain; the Rebbe once climbed the fence to get to the lake; Starting from 1968 a pond was built in the courtyard of 770]

[2] Admur 583/7; However in the Rama ibid and Siddur it simply states that one goes. The Shlah [Miseches R”H 214b in gloss] states that this is an old custom.

The Sefaradi custom: Although this custom is sourced in the Ashkenazi Poskim, nevertheless it is followed also by Sefaradim. [so is proven from all the Sefardi Poskim mentioned in the footnotes here that discuss the details of  the custom of Tashlich]

Custom of Gr”a and others: In Maaseh Rav 209 it states that the Gr”a was not accustomed to go near a body of water to recite Tashlich. The Aruch Hashulchan 583/4 records that many are accustomed not to perform Tashlich at all for reasons known to them and he concludes “and so is proper”.

[3] Admur 583/7 [“river” is omitted in Siddur]; Rama ibid; Mahril ibid; M”A 583/5 and Shaar Hakavanos 90b mention both options, a river or well. Vetzrauch Iyun on why Admur omitted this from the Siddur.

[4] Siddur Admur; [omitted from 583/7]; M”A 583/5; Shaar Hakavanos 90b; Peri Eitz Chaim 26/5; Mishnes Chassidim 9/14; Kaf Hachaim 583/30

[5] Source of the word Tashlich: The word Tashlich means to throw and represents the throwing of the sins. [see Sparks of Kabala]

[6] Admur 583/7 and Siddur; M”A 583/5; Shaar Hakavanos 90b; Peri Eitz Chaim 26/5; Mishnes Chassidim 9/14;  M”B 583/8; M”E 583/4; Kaf Hachaim 583/30

Other Poskim: Reciting after Mincha is omitted from the Levush; Rama ibid and other Poskim; Minhagei Mahril writes to go after the meal.

[7] 583/7; Siddur; M”B 583/8; Sefarim listed in Otzer Minhagei Chabad 346; The Rama does not write when it is to be said, neither which day or the time of the day.

Other Customs-Tashlich on Yom Shlosh Esrei Middos: Many of the Chassidic communities are accustomed to even initially say Tashlich on the day before Erev Yom Kippur which is referred to as “Yom Shlosh Esrei Middos” and not on Rosh Hashanah. [Likkutei Mahrich 77a; Darkei Chaim Veshalom 741; Shaar Yissachar Shuva Yisrael 22 in name of many Tzaddikim; Piskeiy Teshuvos 583/9; See Otzer Minhagei Chabad p. 145] Some bring a proof for this from the Shemoneh Shearim of Rav Shmuel Vital that his father once said Tashlich and saw a frog in the area of which bystanders threw rocks at it to chase the frog away. Rav Chaim Vital chastised them for doing so being the frog contained an incarnated soul searching for a Tikkun. From the fact they threw stones which are Muktzah hence shows that they did not say Tashlich on Yom Tov. [Shaar Yissachar ibid] [Vetzrauch Iyun as they could have kicked the stones which is allowed.] The simple reason for not saying it on Rosh Hashanah is because there is very little time available after the prayers and the conclusion of the Yom Tov meal. It is therefore delayed until the day of Shlosh Esrei Middos which corresponds to the 13 Middos mentioned in Tashlich. [ibid] This day is also special being that the Temple was inaugurated on that day in the times of Shlomo and it is therefore a day of Teshuvah and Tefila. [Derech Pikudecha Hakdama 8; Shaar Yissachar Tishrei 5/1] Others say it was not said on Rosh Hashanah due to fatigue. [Likkutei Mahrich] In any event this custom was followed by many Tzaddikim, and their Chassidim follow this custom even if they have the ability to say Tashlich on Rosh Hashanah. Nevertheless if delaying Tashlich will make them miss saying it with a Minyan then they are to say it on Rosh Hashanah. [Shaar Yissachar ibid; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 583 footnote 58] If Yom Kippur falls on Monday then those that follow the above custom say Tashlich on Thursday. [See Piskeiy Teshuvos 583 footnote 60]

The custom of the Rebbe Rayatz: In one year, when the Rebbe Rayatz was visiting N.Y city, he recited Tashlich twice, on Motzei Rosh Hashanah and on Gimel Middos. [Sichas R”H 1931; Igros Kodesh 2/252; Reshimos 4/14; Hamelech Bemisibo 2/20; Otzer p. 145]

[8] Admur 583/7 and Siddur; M”A 583/5; Shaar Hakavanos 90b; Peri Eitz Chaim 26/5; Mishnes Chassidim 9/14; M”B 583/8; M”E 583/4; Kaf Hachaim 583/30

[9] 583/7; Darkei Moshe 583/2; Drashos Mahril; Minhagim; Shlah 214b; M”B 583/8; Kitzur SHU”A 129/21

The ruling in Siddur: Admur in the Siddur does not explicitly write that the water should contain fish. Veztaruch iyun. See glosses of Rav Raskin p. 538.

The significance of fish: The fish serve as an omen that the evil eye should not have authority over us. It is also an omen for us to be blessed to multiply like fish. [Admur ibid; Minhagim; Darkei Moshe 583/2] Alternatively the reason is because we are a parable to live fish that have been suddenly caught in a net and we beg for supplication of mercy. [Mateh Moshe 820; Shlah 214b] Alternatively the fish represent the level of “Eina Pikcha” [Siddur Admur; Shlah 214b; see Kitzur SHU”A 129/21 where all the reasons are brought] The seeing of fish by the river is secondary to the main purpose of Tashlich. [So is evident from wording in Shlah p. 214 “and consequently one also sees fish”]

Other Poskim: The Rama ibid omits the necessity of having fish in the waters. It is likewise omitted from the Kisvei Arizal brought in footnotes.

[10] Siddur Admur; 583/7; M”A 583/5; Elya Raba 596/3; Siddur Yaavetz; M”B 583/8

[11] Sefer Haminhagim p. 120; Hagahos Hasiddur of Rebbe Rashab; Peri Eitz Chaim Shaar Hashofar 5; Mateh Efraim 598/4; Kitzur SH”A 129/21 Likkutei Mahrich; Kaf Hachaim 583/30

The reason: This is done as a mere hint towards the person that he must shake off his sins and have clean garments from now on. [Kitzur SH”A ibid; M”E ibid] Alternatively this is done in order to shake off the Kelipos, as just like he is shaking the dirt off his clothing into the river so too above they will shake the Kelipos off his soul and throw them into the supernal sea. [Kaf Hachaim 583/30]

[12] When to shake the Tallis: In Peri Eitz Chaim ibid it states to shake it upon saying the words “Visashlich Bemetzulos Yam..” However the Siddur Shlah states to shake it at the conclusion of Tashlich and so is our custom. [Rebbe Rashab ibid]

[13] What to shake: In Peri Eitz Chaim ibid it states to shake the ends of the clothing. However the Siddur Arizal of Rav Shabsi, as well as Siddur Shlah, it states to shake the ends of the Tallis Katan, being it is a clothing of the Shechina. This too is our custom, to shake the ends of the Tallis Katan. [Rebbe Rashab ibid; So rules also Likkutei Mahrich; Piskeiy Teshuvos 583/8]. The following Poskim however mention shaking the clothing and not specifically the Tallis Katan. [Darkei Chaim Veshalom 741; Mateh Efraim 598/4; Kaf Hachaim 583/30]

[14] Kaf Hachaim ibid

[15] See 518/1-4

[16] The Rebbe Rashab and Rebbe Rayatz were particular to never carry on Yom Tov. [See Otzer Minhagei Chabad 359 that the Rebbe Rashab did not carry on R”H and by Tashlich he would give his Siddur and glasses to one of the Bochurim to carry. Likewise in Reshimos Devarim p. 180] it states that the Rebbe Rayatz once saw a member of Anash carrying his Tallis on Yom Tov and he chastised him for doing so. I also heard from Harav Eli Landau, R.Y. of T.T. Kfar Chabad that his father, Harav Yaakov Landau, would walk to the Mikveh together with the Rebbe Rashab on Yom Tov and the Rebbe Rashab would ask him to carry his towel for him to the Mikveh. Thus the Rebbe Rashab and Rebbe Rayatz were particular not to carry. However the Rebbe was accustomed to carry on Yom Tov as was witnessed on various occasions [i.e. removing keys to open door etc].

[17] So is evident from the story of Rav Yaakov Landau with the towel, that the Rebbe Rashab asked him to carry it, and so was the Rebbe’s custom to carry for a need.

[18] Mateh Efraim 598/7; Kaf Hachaim 58/34

[19] Mateh Efraim 598/4; Piskeiy Teshuvos 583/9

[20] Custom of Chasam Sofer recorded in Piskeiy Teshuvos 583 footnote 47

[21] Kaf Hachaim 583/30

The reason: As the main intent of Tashlich is with regards to the supernal sea, and the water below is merely a hint to this matter. [ibid]

[22] Nitei Gavriel 69/6 and so is the custom of many communities in Israel; Directive of Rebbe to Rav Yaakov Yehuda Hecht [Hiskashrus 947]

[23] 324/7; Kaf Hachaim 583/32

[24] Birkeiy Yosef 583/6; Kaf Hachaim 583/33; Mateh Efraim 598/6

[25] Ben Ish Chaiy in Torah Leshmah, brought in Kaf Hachaim ibid

[26] Likkutei Mahrich

[27] Piskeiy Teshuvos 583 footnote 54

[28] For a list of Poskim on this matter see: Piskeiy Teshuvos 583/9; Kaf Hachaim 583/31; Sdei Chemed R”H 2/1; Shaareiy Teshuvah 583/2

[29] Kitzur Shlah; Birkeiy Yosef 583/6 in name of Ramaz; Yosef Ometz 17/3; P“M 583 A”A 5; M”Z 3; M”B 583/8; opinion in Mateh Efraim 598/6; Alef Hamagen 583/11 [that so is the custom]; Yabia Omer 4/47 rules one should say it on Sunday in an area that the Tashlich location is outside the Eiruv.

[30] The Reason: We suspect that one may come to carry his Siddur to the river and a river is usually by a public area of which it is forbidden to carry into. [P”M ibid; M”B ibid] There are likewise Kabalistic reasons mentioned as for why Tashlich should not be said on Shabbos. [Alef Hamagen ibid; Piskeiy Teshuvos 584]

[31] Shvus Yaakov 3/42; Implication of Drashos Mahril and Teshuvos Mahril 136; Machazik Bracha 583/4 in name of Mekubal; [however in Yosef Ometz 17/3 the Chida writes it is better not to follow this opinion]; Shaareiy Teshuvah 583/6 [that so is the custom]; M”E 598/5; Ben Ish Chaiy Netzavim 12 [in name of Rashash]; Torah Leshma 145; Ruach Chaim 583/6; Kaf Hachaim 583/31 [Custom of Beis Keil Jerusalem]; Yabia Omer 4/47 rules one should say it on Shabbos only in an area that the Tashlich location is included within the Eiruv.

Beware not to carry: Those that are accustomed to recite Tashlich on the first day of Rosh Hashanah even when it falls on Shabbos must beware to avoid transgressing the carrying prohibitions. [M”E ibid]

[32] Sichas 6th Tishrei 1970 that so was the custom of the Rebbe Rayatz and Rebbe Rashab, although the Alter Rebbe and previous Rabbeim and Chassidim did go on Shabbos.

Opinion of Shulchan Aruch Harav: The Rebbe ibid implies from the wording of Admur in the Siddur [that does not differentiate] that one is to say Tashlich on Shabbos. The Rebbe suggests that in the later generations our custom in Chabad changed due to that people would stumble with carrying on Shabbos.

[33] Birkeiy Yosef ibid; Reshimos 4/9; Otzer p. 146

[34] Zechor Leavraham 583 brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos 583 footnote 51

[35] Aruch Hashulchan 583/4 states that women should not go and in an area that women go then the men are not to go; Alef Hamagen 583/7

[36] Drashos Mahril R”H; Darkei Moshe 583/2; Shlah 214b; Kaf Hachaim 583/29

[37] Tanchuma Vayeira 22

[38] Kitzur SHU”A 129/21

[39] Shaar Hakavanos 90b; Peri Eitz Chaim 26/5; Kaf Hachaim 583/30

[40] Shaar Hakolel 43/15

[41] Siddur Admur; Siddur Reb Asher taken from Chemdas Yamim 45

[42] Shlah Hakadosh 214b

[43] Siddur Admur; Shaar Hakavanos 90b; Peri Eitz Chaim 26/5; Kaf Hachaim 583/30

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Leave A Comment?