Tobi Kahn: Open, Closed, Open

The Tashlikh ritual allows us to enact the casting off of our inevitable shortcomings. On the second day of Rosh Ha-Shanah, Jews have symbolically tossed their failings into the water, usually by emptying their pockets or throwing crumbs of bread into a lake or river. This vessel is designed to hold the invisible memories of our own darkness and harm, disappointments we accrue but can shed each year so that the radiant memory of those who are gone—revivified by the Yahrzeit lamp—can accompany and augment us.
 
The Tashlikh box clarifies what we must leave behind; the Yahrzeit lamp illuminates what we hope to revive. These ceremonial sculptures live in relationship to one another—an intimate reckoning.
 
And so we weave our lives between the need to discard and the mandate to remember, longing to relinquish our transgressions, to take wing past hovering darkness, to amplify the light.
 
Like Jacob, we lay our heads on a pillow of stone to dream of angels. Bound to earth, dust to dust, we can—through art, through love—construct a ladder to transcendence, compelled to make something beautiful of loss, of limitation: the rent fabric of our unredeemed world.