There is a visceral reaction in seeing a sea of people against a sea of water. Like many of you, we engaged in the ritual of tashlich this week. The “casting out” of our mistakes into a body of water. Some used traditional bread, others cleaned the beach in a “reverse tashlich” and we prayed as a community that it should be the start of a sweet new year. A year of introspection, intentional steps and choosing life.
Imagine thousands of years ago when our ancestors encountered another sea of water. Fleeing Egypt, escaping slavery and coming face to face with a seemingly impossible barrier. No pathway forward. The Jews went from one treacherous obstacle to another. And yet with God’s help, Bnai Yisrael experienced a miracle, the sea was split and they walked towards freedom.
Perhaps that is one of the reasons why tashlich takes place at a body of moving water. Water can be seen as life giving and life taking. We face situations that seem impossible to overcome and remember, with God’s help, this too is surmountable. We cast out self-doubt, insecurities, fear and despair. And we breathe in hope, confidence and faith. When we do, often, light shines on a path we had yet to see.
During the season of repentance, we read Psalm 27:
though wars threaten, in this do I trust.
We trust that with God’s help, we will find our way.
Whichever internal battle or spiritual conflict we face this year, there is potential for the sea to split. Just like our ancestors, even when faced with walls of water, we too can find pathways to freedom.
Gmar hatimah tovah, may we all be sealed in the book of life.
Rabbi Nicole Guzik is senior rabbi at Sinai Temple. She can be reached at her Facebook page at Rabbi Nicole Guzik or on Instagram @rabbiguzik. For more writings, visit Rabbi Guzik’s blog section from Sinai Temple’s website.