Tashlich - The Crumbs of Rosh Hashanah

The Kosher Pig: And Other Curiosities of Modern Jewish Life

A custom among many Jews during the second day of the Rosh Hashanah holiday is to recite prayers near natural flowing waters such as a river and to symbolically get rid of their sins by throwing bits of bread into the water. This practice is known as "Tashlich" (pronounced "TAHSH-lich").

In 1997 Rabbi Richard Israel of Newton, Massachusetts wrote a humorous piece listing several different sin/bread combinations for a sermon. Taking a few crumbs from whatever old bread is in the house lacks subtlety, nuance and religious sensitivity. The good Rabbi suggests that we can do better. Instead:

  • For ordinary sins, use - White Bread

  • For exotic sins - French Bread

  • For particularly dark sins - Pumpernickel

  • For complex sins - Multi-grain

  • For twisted sins - Pretzels

  • For tasteless sins - Rice Cakes

  • For sins of indecision - Waffles

  • For sins committed in haste - Matzah

  • For sins committed in less than eighteen minutes - Shmurah Matzah

  • For sins of chutzpah - Fresh Bread

  • For substance abuse/marijuana - Stoned Wheat

  • For substance abuse/heavy drugs - Poppy Seed

  • For arson - Toast

  • For timidity - Milk Toast

  • For high-handedness - Napoleons

  • For being sulky - Sourdough

  • For silliness - Nut Bread

  • For not giving full value - Short bread

  • For jingoism - Yankee Doodles

  • For telling bad jokes - Corn Bread
  • For being money-hungry - Enriched Bread or Raw Dough
  • For telling small lies - Fudge
  • For war-mongering - Kaiser Rolls
  • For promiscuity - Hot Buns
  • For racism - Crackers
  • For sophisticated racism - Ritz Crackers
  • For being holier-than-thou - Bagels
  • For unfairly up-braiding others - Challah
  • For provocative dressing - Wonton Wrappers
  • For snobbery - Upper Crusts
  • For indecent photography - Cheese Cake
  • For trashing the environment - Dumplings
  • For the sin of laziness - Any Very Long Loaf
  • For being hyper-critical - Pan Cakes
  • For political skullduggery - Bismarcks
  • For over-eating - Stuffing Bread or Bulkie Rolls
  • For gambling - Fortune Cookies
  • For pride - Puff Pastry
  • For cheating - Bread made with Nutrasweet and Olestra
  • For being snappish - Ginger Bread
  • For dropping in without calling beforehand - Popovers
  • For trying to improve everyone within sight -Angel Food Cake
  • For being up-tight and irritable - High Fiber or Bran Muffins
  • For sycophancy - Brownies
  • For rearing children incompetently - Raisin Bread
  • For immodest behavior - Tarts
  • For causing injury or damage to others - Tortes
  • For hardening our hearts - Jelly doughnuts
  • For abrasiveness - Grits
  • For recurring slip ups - Banana Bread
  • For davening off tune - Flat Bread
  • For impetuosity - Quick Bread
  • For silliness - Nut Bread
  • For risking one's life unnecessarily - Hero Bread
  • For auto theft - Caraway
  • For excessive use of irony - Rye Bread
  • For larceny (especially of copyright material) - Stollen

Rabbi Israel is the author of The Kosher Pig: And Other Curiosities of Modern Jewish Life and Jewish Identity Games: A How-To-Do-It Book.

Sadly Rabbi Israel passed away in the summer of 2000. If you look at the last 13 lines in the list above you will see highlighted the letters spelling out the name of Richard Israel.

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