Monday, September 21, 2009

This year’s addition to Tashlich

Our hearts and minds are each unique. Just as we each understand God differently and we each understand ourselves differently, we also each understand the rituals and purpose of the High Holidays differently. With conversation and with patience and respect for each other, those differences can give us strength.

We can reflect on three types of sins: sins against God, sins against ourselves, and sins against other people. God can forgive us our sins against God, and we can forgive our sins against ourselves. The hardest part of teshuvah, of repentance and change, is dealing with our sins against other people. That is why we are called to do Tashlich with other people, and why Tashlich is best done early during these Days of Repentance. We symbolically cast away our sins with other people to remind us that none of us is perfect, that we all must seek to change, that we all must seek forgiveness from others.

But the presence of other people should be a positive reminder as well, a reminder that other people can help us to change. We are members of a community, and we have an obligation not just to help others in our community but also to accept help from others. Our friends and family can forgive us if we let them, but they can also support us if we let them.

With that in mind, let us begin our casting away together:

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