Rosh Hashanah is a time of dichotomy. On the one hand, it is a yomtov, when we celebrate with festive meals and nice clothing. On the other hand, it is the beginning of the Days of Awe, when we turn to the Almighty with trepidation, expressing remorse for our actions over the last year and resolving that this year will be better. How do we harmonize these contrasting feelings and convey the message of Rosh Hashanah to our children? It is important that we appreciate our children’s ability to understand that solemnness can be celebrated and embraced. Otherwise we run the risk of their rejecting the day’s concerns. We are celebrating G-d’s coronation by humankind on the sixth day of creation, but recognizing that with the rights of being His subjects come the responsibilities of service.
One of the customs of Rosh Hashanah where we find this complexity expressed is the Tashlich. On the first day of the year, we walk to a body of water, where we symbolically throw away our sins. While we strive to make the event as exciting as possible, bringing out the whole family (somebody asked me this year if they can bring their dog!), some people bringing breadcrumbs, singing and dancing, we must not forget the solemnness of the occasion. We are ridding ourselves of our sins.
This year, for the first time ever, we are joined by Beth Shalom for Tashlich. I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome Rabbi Kliel Rose, their new rabbi and welcome the Rose family to our neighbourhood. I am especially grateful to Rabbi Rose for agreeing to the joint Tashlich. When one contemplates the intense meaning of the custom, it is a particularly appropriate initiative to approach as a community. Tashlich is the time when we throw away our sins and resolve to be better Jews – more dedicated to Torah and mitzvos.
May this year be a year of improved dedication to Torah and mitzvos and may we grow as a community in our commitment to Ahavat Yisrael, Ahavat Hashem and Yirat Hashem (love of our fellow Jews, love of G-d and fear of G-d). And on behalf of Rabbanit Batya and myself, may you all be blessed with a healthy, happy and sweet new year.