By Shula Banchik
(Calgary) – As the late summer sun casts its warm embrace over Calgary, two young men stand resolute upon towering rocks overlooking the Glenmore Reservoir. Their faces radiate with purpose, as they clutch bags filled with breadcrumbs, embarking on a profound spiritual journey known as Tashlich.
Surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of a clear, blue sky adorned with fluffy white clouds, the men found themselves at the edge of a windy basin. The shallow waters reveal a mosaic of pebbles beneath its surface, as if the reservoir itself is inviting them to engage in the act of reflection.
In the background, the trees that lined the reservoir’s edge, begin their slow transition from lush green to vibrant shades of yellow. The promise of autumn is in the air, a time of change and introspection that perfectly aligns with the Ten Days of Awe.
Along this serene scene, another figure emerges. A man stands amidst a patch of tall grass. In his hands, he holds a kudu shofar, the ancient musical instrument and symbol of the Jewish faith. As the younger men cast the crumbs into the water, he raises the shofar to his lips. The tones seem to blend with the rustling of the tall grass and the lapping of the water against the shore. It is a reminder that Tashlich is not only about letting go of past wrongdoings, but also about sounding a call to awaken the spirit, to embrace the newness of the season and the possibilities it holds.
The strong gusts of wind sweep through the reservoir’s shores; its presence felt by all during this sacred ritual. As the tekiahs, shevarim and truahs’ echoes fill the air, the author of this composition sits by the water’s edge. Her feet immersed in the refreshing embrace of the gentle waves. This intimate moment tells a story of personal contemplation. A moment of connection with the cleansing power of nature, a reminder that renewal can be found in the smallest of gestures.
In this snapshot of time -surrounded by the beauty of the changing seasons, the rhythmic waves against the shore, the shofar’s call, and the wind’s strong caresses- we embody the profound significance of Tashlich and the Ten Days of Awe: a timeless journey of the soul towards self-improvement and a yearning for a life filled with love, health, purpose and community.
In the serenity of this moment, by the shores of the Glenmore Reservoir, we all know that our journey had just begun, a journey towards spiritual growth, renewal, and the hope that “may we all be inscribed in the Book of Life.”
Shana Tova Umetuka ve Gmar Chatima Tova.
This article was previously published in the Kehilat Shalom newsletter.