July 19, 2016 - Taschlich

Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt
and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance;
Who does not persist in anger forever,
but delights rather in clemency,
And will again have compassion on us,
treading underfoot our guilt?
You will cast into the depths of the sea
all our sins;
You will show faithfulness to Jacob,
and grace to Abraham,
As you have sworn to our fathers
from days of old.

Micah 7:18-20

On the first day of Rosh Hashanah the faithful throw pebbles into a body of water, symbolizing God’s decision, according to this passage of Micah, to “cast into the depth of the sea all of our sins”.   I have always been intrigued by this tradition and, in particular, the rules governing what sort of body of water into which the pebbles should be cast.  According to some traditions, the body of water can be a sea, a lake, or a river; but whatever it is, the water level cannot be subject to drought.  This poetically, not prosaically, assures that our sins are forever gone and will never reappear.  

Photo: Aleksander Hierymsky, Feast of Trumpets