Tashlich - úùìéê
Group Size: 15-25
Estimated Time: 60 minutes
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This is the place!
Cut up letters for Chevraya Aleph, Cut out Sins for Chevraya Bet. Copies of Tashlich for people to say. Snacks for afterwards. Bread to throw into the water.
Topic: Teshuva, Tefila, U’Tzedaka
Written By: Leon Covitz, Aaron Greenberg, Eric Weisberg
Goals: Teach a little bit about Tashlich and make the minhag a little more entertaining
Materials: Cut up letters for Chevraya Aleph, Cut out Sins for Chevraya Bet. Copies of Tashlich for people to say. Snacks for afterwards. Bread to throw into the water.
Note: Requires preparation before Yom Tov
We will be doing Tashlich by snif, and hopefully there will be a group from Chevraya Aleph and a group from Chevraya ZaCh/Bet. We will break them up into two groups, with a game for each to play, a story, and hopefully a little discussion as to the significance of Tashlich. Since we were in shul so much today, we don’t want it to last too long. Make it quick and fast, 20-25 minutes.
Break up the chanichim into a number of groups, depending on the amount of chanichim present. Before Yom Tov cut out or make letters to hand out to the kids. Hand each kid one letter. The goal of the game is to spell words out of these letters. The game is best played in competition: one group goes first, spelling a word. Then the next group has to spell a word. Whichever team cannot think of a word first loses. You can a number of rounds, each time with different letters.
If needed, you can give one chanich two letters, or rearrange group sizes to make this game work.
Before Yom Tov, cut up the list below. Then hand them out to the chanichim. You can break them into two groups (remember to make two lists) or keep everyone together, depending on the size of the group. Tell them that they have to prioritize which sins they want to throw in the river first, putting them in order according to which they feel are worst.
Lashon Hara Eating Non-Kosher Not Being Shomer Negiya
Skipping Tefila Being Rude to your Parents Turning on a light on Shabbat
Murder Tripping a Blind Person Going a day without learning
Carrying outside an Eruv Shoplifting Cursing
Making a Chilul Hashem Not saying a Bracha Watching movies with nudity
Not giving Tzedaka Holding a Grudge Taking your father’s seat
There was a village far off in the provinces where the people were simple and ignorant. Once one of the villagers had occasion to spend the night in the big city. Suddenly, he was awakened from his sleep by the loud beating of drums. “What does this mean?” he asked in fright. In reply he was told that a fire had broken out and that the beating of drums was the city’s fire alarm.
Satisfied with this information the man went back to sleep.
When he returned to his village, he excitedly reported what he had seen in the city. “They have a most marvelous arrangement,” he declared. “Whenever there is a fire in the city they beat their drums and soon the fire is all gone.”
The major of the village thought this a splendid idea and immediately bought drums for use in the even of fire. A few days later, when a fire did break out in the village, the inhabitants quickly took up the drums and beat them loud and strong so that it was a pleasure to listen to them. In the meantime half the houses in the village had gone up in flames. A stranger who happened to be present in the village squared laughed ironically and said to the fire brigade who were busily beating away with the wooden drum sticks, “Why, you fools! Do you not know that you can’t extinguish a fire just by beating a drum? The drum is meant only to call out the fire brigade so that they my come and put out the fire; the noise of the drums won’t frighten the fire away!”
We’re about to go to the water and throw bits of bread into it. Does this at all make up for what we’ve done wrong? Who are you kidding? Tashlich is a symbol to make us realize our wrong doings and thing about improving ourselves. If we do Tashlich understanding what we’re doing, and meaning what we say, then that symbol has meaning and can teach us a lot.
Tashlich began as a custom during medieval times. It symbolizes that we hope Hashem will dismiss our sins on this day of judgment. In ancient times, kings used to be crowned on river banks. So we go to a riverbank to crown Hashem king.
We go to a local stream, split up into small groups and say tashlich. The custom we have is to either shake out our pockets, or throw bread into the waters, but try and avoid too much of a bundle. Afterwards, it’s a good idea to go back to the meeting place and have some refreshments while waiting for parents to pick up the younger kids. A good story to tell during this time is about the fox who came to the bank of a stream. He saw the fish swimming restlessly in the water. Said the sly fox to the fish: “I see you are living in mortal fear lest you fall into the fisherman’s net. Come out onto the dry bank, and you will escape the fisherman’s net, and we’ll live happily together, as my ancestors lived with yours.” Bu the fish scoffed at the cunning fox, and replied: “If in the water, which is our very life, we are in danger, surely our leaving the water would mean certain death to us!”
Rabbi Akiva told this story explaining why it’s important to always learn Torah, even when there were decrees against doing so. Torah is our life, and without it we’d be as helpless as fish out of water.