Tashlich-Part 3-The Halachic details-Where and who

A. Tashlich-Where to say it:

It is customary[1] to go on Rosh Hashanah to a river[2] [or well or spring[3]] to recite Tashlich.[4] Tashlich is to be recited near a river that contains live fish.[5] [See Q&A regarding if a river is not available.] It is best to be recited near a river that is outside the city [but within the Techum].[6]


Q&A on where to recite

What is one to do if a river, well or spring is not available in one’s city?

In a case that a river, well, or spring is not available in one’s area, then some are accustomed to walk to an area from which they can see a river, sea or other body of water, even if it is very far.[7] In Yerushalayim, some were accustomed to recite Tashlich near the opening of a water pit, even if it is currently dry of water.[8] If this too is not available then one may go to any body of water, even an open faucet.[9]

Q&A on fish

May one feed the fish by the river?[10]

No. It is forbidden to feed fish on Yom Tov [unless they are in an aquarium and dependent on humans for their food]. 



The Rebbe’s Tashlich:

For an accounting of the Rebbe’s Tashlich see Otzer Minhagei Chabad P. 351. In the earlier years the Rebbe went to the Botanical gardens; One year there was a lot of rain; the Rebbe once climbed the fence to get to the lake; Starting from 1968 a pond was built in the courtyard of 770



B. Who-Are women to say Tashlich?

Many women are accustomed to reciting Tashlich.[11] Nevertheless they are not to go to an area where there are men as this can lead to promiscuity and sin. Some Poskim[12] denounce the custom of women saying Tashlich due to this reason.


[1] Admur 583:7; However, in the Rama ibid and Siddur it simply states that one goes. The Shlah [Miseches R”H 214b in gloss] states that this is an old custom.

The Sefaradi custom: Although this custom is sourced in the Ashkenazi Poskim, nevertheless it is followed also by Sefaradim. [so is proven from all the Sefardi Poskim mentioned in the footnotes here that discuss the details of the custom of Tashlich]

Custom of Gr”a and others: In Maaseh Rav 209 it states that the Gr”a was not accustomed to go near a body of water to recite Tashlich. The Aruch Hashulchan 583:4 records that many are accustomed not to perform Tashlich at all for reasons known to them and he concludes “and so is proper”.

[2] Admur 583:7 [“river” is omitted in Siddur]; Rama ibid; Mahril ibid; M”A 583:5 and Shaar Hakavanos 90b mention both options, a river or well. Vetzrauch Iyun on why Admur omitted this from the Siddur.

[3] Siddur Admur; [omitted from 583:7]; M”A 583:5; Shaar Hakavanos 90b; Peri Eitz Chaim 26:5; Mishnes Chassidim 9:14; Kaf Hachaim 583:30

[4] Source of the word Tashlich: The word Tashlich means to throw and represents the throwing of the sins. [see Sparks of Kabala]

[5] Admur 583:7; Darkei Moshe 583:2; Drashos Mahril; Minhagim; Shlah 214b; M”B 583:8; Kitzur SHU”A 129:21

The ruling in Siddur: Admur in the Siddur does not explicitly write that the water should contain fish. Veztaruch iyun. See glosses of Rav Raskin p. 538.

The significance of fish: The fish serve as an omen that the evil eye should not have authority over us. It is also an omen for us to be blessed to multiply like fish. [Admur ibid; Minhagim; Darkei Moshe 583:2] Alternatively, the reason is because we are a parable to live fish that have been suddenly caught in a net and we beg for supplication of mercy. [Mateh Moshe 820; Shlah 214b] Alternatively the fish represent the level of “Eina Pikcha” [Siddur Admur; Shlah 214b; see Kitzur SHU”A 129:21 where all the reasons are brought] The seeing of fish by the river is secondary to the main purpose of Tashlich. [So is evident from wording in Shlah p. 214 “and consequently one also sees fish”]

Other Poskim: The Rama ibid omits the necessity of having fish in the waters. It is likewise omitted from the Kisvei Arizal brought in footnotes.

[6] Siddur Admur; Admur 583:7; M”A 583:5; Elya Raba 596:3; Siddur Yaavetz; M”B 583:8

[7] Custom of Chasam Sofer recorded in Piskeiy Teshuvos 583 footnote 47

[8] Kaf Hachaim 583:30

The reason: As the main intent of Tashlich is with regards to the supernal sea, and the water below is merely a hint to this matter. [ibid]

[9] Nitei Gavriel 69:6 and so is the custom of many communities in Israel; Directive of Rebbe to Rav Yaakov Yehuda Hecht [Hiskashrus 947]

[10] Admur 324:7; Mateh Efraim 598:5; Kaf Hachaim 583:32

[11] Zechor Leavraham 583 brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos 583 footnote 51

[12] Aruch Hashulchan 583:4 states that women should not go and in an area that women go then the men are not to go; Alef Hamagen 583:7

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