TASHLIKH (Heb. תַּשְׁלִיךְ; lit. "thou shalt cast"), ceremony held near a sea or a running stream on the first day of *Rosh Ha-Shanah, usually late in the afternoon. When the first day occurs on the Sabbath, the ceremony is deferred to the second day, to ensure that no prayer book be carried to the riverside on the Sabbath (Peri Megadim to Sh. Ar., OḤ 583:2). The term itself is derived from Micah 7:19: "Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea." The core of the ceremony is the recitation of Micah 7:18–20. Psalms 118:5–9; 33; 130; and Isaiah 11:9 are added in some rites. Kabbalists added quotations from the Zohar and there were other variants in different communities (e.g., in Kurdistan Jews actually entered the water; in certain parts of Bulgaria the ceremony was performed on the afternoon of the Day of Atonement).
The origin of the custom – not mentioned by talmudic, geonic, or early authorities – is uncertain. J.Z. Lauterbach (Rabbinic Essays (1951), 299–433) suggests a pagan origin,
The custom of shaking the pockets of one's garments during the ceremony is popularly taken as a rite of transferring the sins to the fish, but other authorities connect it with the talmudic saying that cleanliness of garments is a sign of moral purity (see Shab. 153a). To feed the fish during the ceremony is forbidden (Maharil, loc. cit.).
Oriental-Sephardi Jews have practiced the custom since the time of Isaac *Luria.
J.Z. Lauterbach, Rabbinic Essays (1951) 299–433; Schulman, in: Ha-Meliẓ, 8 (1868), 106–7; Abrahams, in: JC (Sept. 27, 1889), 15–16; E. Munk, The World of Prayer, 2 (1963), 212–5; S.Z. Ariel, Enẓiklopedyah Me'ir Nativ (1960), 454–5.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.