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Richard Israel's Crumb List
Dick sent me his latest version, with an introduction, for inclusion here.
My crumb list has yielded a great deal of fun, both from writing it and the suggestions I have gotten from others. It has also been quite aggravating. I had been working on the piece before Rosh Hashanah, off and on for the past several years, during those times I couldn't stand working on a drashah. I had assumed that I would get it just right after a few more years and would publish it. That all changed when someone leaked it from private emailing, sent it to a friend, and the friend sent it to the world. It then began appearing on every known Jewish net list either without attribution or with inaccurate attribution. I was in danger of losing all connection with the piece, but trying to get it back was like trying to return feathers to a torn cushion in a high wind.
Following the practice of our ancestors who wrote their names into liturgical poems (which I now understand for the first time) I spelled my name into the list (the last 13 entries from "Rearing children..." on). Should have done it a long time ago. Now let people mail it out without attribution and claim it! It appeared in Sh'ma last Purim so at least at a formal level, I have rights to it.
The list was certainly not intended to be an exercise in earnestness, but it was also more than a joke. I hoped that it would be a light spirited way to get people to think about Tashlich. (Yes, even sins can be funny.) I can't be sure that this was what made the difference, but after I read it at services more people turned up at our local pond than we have ever seen before. I think that is probably a good thing. I am less sure that it was good for the fish.
There was also the goose problem. Signs were posted saying firmly, "Do not feed the Canada geese, they will forget that they are supposed to migrate."
"But officer, we are not feeding the geese. They are just taking advantage of our sins." It doesn't sound very convincing. Luckily, we didn't get caught.
(c) 1997 Richard J Israel
Taking a few crumbs to Tashlich from whatever old bread is in the house lacks subtlety, nuance and religious sensitivity. I would suggest that we can do better. Instead:
For ordinary sins, use - White Bread
For exotic sins - French Bread
For particularly dark sins - Pumpernickel
For complex sins - Multi-grain
For twisted sins - Pretzels
For tasteless sins - Rice Cakes
For sins of indecision - Waffles
For sins committed in haste - Matzah
For sins committed in less than eighteen minutes - Shmurah Matzah
For sins of chutzpah - Fresh Bread
For substance abuse/marijuana - Stoned Wheat
For substance abuse/heavy drugs - Poppy Seed
For arson - Toast
For timidity - Milk Toast
For high-handedness - Napoleons
For being sulky - Sourdough
For silliness - Nut Bread
For not giving full value - Short bread
For jingoism - Yankee Doodles
For telling bad jokes - Corn Bread
For being money-hungry - Enriched Bread or Raw Dough
For telling small lies - Fudge
For war-mongering - Kaiser Rolls
For promiscuity - Hot Buns
For racism - Crackers
For sophisticated racism - Ritz Crackers
For being holier-than-thou - Bagels
For unfairly up-braiding others - Challah
For provocative dressing - Wonton Wrappers
For snobbery - Upper Crusts
For indecent photography - Cheese Cake
For trashing the environment - Dumplings
For the sin of laziness - Any Very Long Loaf
For being hyper-critical - Pan Cakes
For political skullduggery - Bismarcks
For over-eating - Stuffing Bread or Bulkie Rolls
For gambling - Fortune Cookies
For pride - Puff Pastry
For cheating - Bread made with Nutrasweet and Olestra
For being snappish - Ginger Bread
For dropping in without calling beforehand - Popovers
For trying to improve everyone within sight -Angel Food Cake
For being up-tight and irritable - High Fiber or Bran Muffins
For sycophancy - Brownies
For rearing children incompetently - Raisin Bread
For immodest behavior - Tarts
For causing injury or damage to others - Tortes
For hardening our hearts - Jelly doughnuts
For abrasiveness - Grits
For recurring slip ups - Banana Bread
For davening off tune - Flat Bread
For impetuosity - Quick Bread
For silliness - Nut Bread
For risking one's life unnecessarily - Hero Bread
For auto theft - Caraway
For excessive use of irony - Rye Bread
For larceny (especially of copyright material) - Stollen
Remember, you don't have to show your crumbs to anyone.
For those who require a wide selection of crumbs, an attempt will be made to have pre-packaged Tashlich Mix available in three grades (Tashlich Lite, Medium and Industrial Strength) at your local Jewish bookstore.
With thanks to Robbie Fein who suggested the original formula.
Richard J. Israel
This page was posted on this web site in early 1999. Tragically, Dick passed away in the summer of 2000. May his memory be a blessing! You can read remembrances of him on a tribute web site.
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