Prepent Day 30: Listen to the Flow

Monday 10/03/16

Tishrei 1 5777


Dear Water,

On this first day of the new year we head out of our sanctuaries and line up on your shores, breadcrumbs offered to your waves. We release our past and our regrets and toss away as much guilt as possible with each crumb of nourishment. The Tashlich custom is one of the most embodied, primal, pagan rituals we’ve got on our calendar, a relic of the days of sacrifice: We worship at the water.

This is the first day of the ten days of Teshuva, the hard-core marathon leading to the holy of holies on the day of atonement. The holy of holies is the imagined space of encounter with our most sacred self, our inner truths, the commitment to the better life we wish and will to live. To get there we begin by shedding what we can to the water. Teshuva means return, as in, return to center. Teshuva also means response, reply. Each of these ten days is another response to the same question: What can I take on to be less of the problem and more of the solution? How can I be less fear based and more love driven?

Today’s response comes from you, great waters. Listen to the flow, the fluidity, the river that goes on, wave after wave into the ocean. With each breadcrumb tossed into this eternity I let go of the past pains and regrets and rages and hurts. I refuse to hoard and hold on to the traumas and fears. I begin by letting go, like water grasped in my palms. Not all pasts are ready to release just yet, I know, but with these gestures I begin today to live again with less weight and more space within to make amends.

Thank you water, source of life, for quenching my thirst and removing my waste and nourishing our being. May we take better care of you and of each other in this coming year.

My friend and teacher Rabbi Rachel Barenblat wrote this powerful response - prayer for tashlich. I’ll sing it on your shores today.

Here I am again
ready to let go of my mistakes.
Help me to release myself
from all the ways I’ve missed the mark.
Help me to stop carrying
the karmic baggage of my poor choices.
As I cast this bread upon the waters
lift my troubles off my shoulders.
Help me to know that last year is over,
washed away like crumbs in the current.
Open my heart to blessing and gratitude.
Renew my soul as the dew renews the grasses.
And we say together:
Amen.

Love,

Amichai


PREPENT: Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie’s annual journey to the new year, with 40 ways in 40 days to reflect, refocus, recharge and restart life. This year features daily love letters inspired by Lab/Shul’s theme for the High Holy Days, “וְאָהַבְתָּ re:love.”

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This story "Prepent Day 30: Listen to the Flow" was written by Amichai Lau-Lavie.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

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