What’s the main kavanah we should have by tashlich?
Tashlich is for the purpose of doing a certain act by means of which we demonstrate that we understand that Hakadosh Baruch Hu is the One who forgives our sins.
We have to know that the kaparas avonos is not merely a result of things we do, of rituals. Some people think they do certain things and it wipes out their sins. Some think that if they’re shlugging kaparos, it wipes out their sins. No. It’s what you do in your mind that causes Hashem to wipe out your sin. It’s your mind!
And therefore, when you go to tashlich it’s just a demonstration that ותשליך – that You, Hashem, will throw away our sins, במצולות ים – into the depths of the sea. All the great ideals that are mentioned in tashlich, תתן אמת ליעקב, חסד לאברהם, and that You should remember the ימי קדם are all for that purpose.
And throwing the sins into the water? That’s what an am ha’aretz thinks, that he throws his sins into the water. No. That’s amaratzus. What we’re doing is we’re throwing into the water our foolishness, our ignorance, and we’re becoming aware that Hakadosh Baruch Hu is the One who is going to purify us when we do teshuva. אשריכם ישראל לפני מי אתם מטהרים ומי מטהר אתכם – Who is purifying you? It’s only the chessed of Hashem that purifies you.
We say ותשליך – You will throw into the sea all of our sins. Not we. We can’t throw our sins into the sea. You should throw them into the sea. And therefore it’s nothing but one more exercise in the great principle that Hashem is נושא עון ועובר על פשע, that He will forgive us for our sins. And that’s expected to be part of our thoughts, our frame of mind, on Rosh Hashanah.
TAPE # 978 (September 1994)