Rabbi Trachtenberg cites the power of the Kapparah rites in Judaism.
In the first editions of the Shulhan Aruch, an accepted code of Judaism compiled by Joseph Caro, his reference to Tashlik being a "silly custom" was deleted, according to Rabbi Trachtenberg, "under the influence of the 16th century Polish annotator, Moses Isserles . The various features of the ceremony accentuate its superstitions and even magical character."
Tashlik is the current and ancient Pharisee custom of dropping crumbs into a river or body of water at Rosh [page 48] Hashona, or flapping the garments at demons, as the Hasidim Jews do, to appease them. Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges in New York, have been much used for this, says the Jewish Encyclopedia of 1905 (under "Tashlik"). Rabbi Trachtenberg also states:
Fowl are closely associated with the spirits in Jewish and non-Jewish lore, and are the commonest oblation to them The cock is employed to represent a man, the hen, a woman, in many magic rites. The circles which are described about the head of the individual, and the numbers three and seven, are well-known magical elements. The words which effectuate the substitution have all the earmarks of a typical incantation. In the earlier texts the words this is my atonement are not present; they were added so that the initials of the Hebrew terms might form the word hatash, which is the name of the angel appointed over this.
Rabbi Trachtenberg continues:
The belief that evil spirits roost on roofs occurs often (the Talmud places them under the eaves) In view of this requirement that the entrails be thrown on a roof acquires special significance. Thus analyzed there can be little doubt of the true meaning of the rite, which is still observed today. It is probably the most blatantly superstitious practice to have entered Jewish religious usage, for where the significance of other such practices has long since been lost sight of, the purpose of this is too apparent to escape the dullest wits. (same publication, pages 1645)
Not unrelated is the rite of Tashlik, observed on the first day of Rosh Hashonah this ceremony represents merely the latest version of a complex of superstitious practices centering about the belief in the existence of spirits in bodies of Water in later times Tashlik was postponed if the first day of the New Year fell on a Sabbath on the ground that carrying bread was a violation of the Sabbath rules.
Various "explanations" customarily used as a "whited sepulchre"
coverup for the stark paganism of Pharisaism are here mentioned by Trachtenberg, and then:
These explanations only too patently evade the main issue, the bread offering to the spirits Under Kabbalistic influence an attempt was made to limit the rite to shaking one s clothes at the riverside (page 166)
A picture appears in the Jewish Encyclopedia showing Jews with bags of bread at the river-side performing the Tashlik ceremony of appeasing the demons of the water.
The entire Jewish Talmud book of Yadayim ("hands") is based upon the superstition that demons live in water. The Talmudist's objective here is not cleanliness, but getting the "demons" off into water. Small wonder that Christ would have none of the Pharisee hand-washing voodoo in His life, because of which the Pharisees upbraided Him mercilessly.
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