Why I’m Not Doing Tashlikh This Year

by Janet Ruth Falon (Elkins Park, PA)

I’m mad at you, God,
You tricked me into thinking life is fair
And that if I did good things,
God things,
I’d get what I deserved
(which wasn’t so extraordinary, after all,
just the basic stuff like everyone else).
But you screwed me, God,
Holding back from me, then snatching away when I thought it was mine.
And now you expect me to take the crumbs from my pocket and toss them,
my misdeeds and regrets,
into flowing waters?  I won’t.
I don’t have what to give.
Loss after loss has diminished me
And I’m tired and small;
I need to hang on to what little I have.
Of course I’ve made mistakes –
But it’s your turn, God, this year,
To atone
And admit
And commit to making better.
You owe me, God, big time.

Yes, I’m angry.
I should have gone swimming today
Rather than to shul
Where I feel your big daddy hand
Holding me up when I give in,
And give up the fight
flat on my back,
trusting you won’t let me down, or drown.
But I didn’t, God.  Silly me.
I thought I’d visit you and try again.
(I hope you know that the fact I’m there
Means I haven’t given up, not totally,
Not yet.)
So here’s what I want, today;
I want this instead of Tashlikh:
I want you to make it rain.
I want you to take the waters that you’ve sucked up during this long, scorched, yellow summer
And pour them down on me.
I’m parched, God.  I could be dying.
I want you to rain down the waters
that might have been the stream I’d Tashlikh into
And make it flow
Abundant and life-bearing.
I want you to write little fortune-cookie messages —
Apologizing to me,
Forecasting only good things —
And have them wash up onto the shore
Where I can collect them and paste them
Into my journal.
On this day when other people are discarding pieces of themselves
I want the holes in me filled.

Janet Ruth Falon, the author of The Jewish Journaling Book (Jewish Lights, 2004), teaches a variety of writing classes — including journaling and creative expression — at many places, including the University of Pennsylvania. She leads a non-fiction writing group and works with individual students, and is continuing to write Jewish-themed readings for what she hopes will become a book, In the Spirit of the Holidays.

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1 Comment

Filed under American Jewry, poetry

One response to “Why I’m Not Doing Tashlikh This Year

  1. Gail F. Nalven

    My dear departed friend said upon her need for a new lung which she did receive and live with for 13 years: God does not micro-manage. I think it is unfair to expect God to control the bad stuff. God is not big brother!

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