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Etching with Aquatint
Tashlikh further explores the scapegoat theme seen in Kapparot, depicting a ritual performed on the afternoon of the first day of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year). At this time, ones pockets are emptied over a flowing body of water such as a river to symbolize the casting off of sins. Biblical prayers concerning sin, repentance, and forgiveness are recited from the Book of Micah (7:10-20). This ritual originated in medieval Germany and was later adopted by Oriental and Sephardic Jews. Here, three men are shown with the legs and goats hooves drawn from the legend of Azazel (in the 16th chapter of Leviticus) where a goat is sent to wander to his death in the wilderness carrying the sins of the Jewish people on his back. Tashlikh is an allegory for the continuous cycle of good and evil, each of which seems to need the other to exist. It shows us that although we have the opportunity to redeem ourselves at this special time, we are not perfect and will most likely accumulate these or other sins again throughout the coming year, thus requiring annual atonement.
Text & Illustrations ©1975 Ilene Winn-Lederer