A Wing & A Prayer The Kapparot Chicken- Swinging Ritual
“Kapparot is not consistent with Jewishteachings and law. Repentance and charity can be better accomplished by using money instead o a slaughtered chicken.”
– FormerIsraeli Chie Rabbi Shlomo Goren quoted in“Jewish chicken killing ritual o Kapparot,”Los Angeles press release by Nazila Mahgereteh, September 28, 2006
“Our intention is not to dismay. Our intention is tosave lie.”
– Roberta Kalechosky, Jews or AnimalRights
What is kapparot?
Kapparot or kaparos, meaning “atonements,” isa custom in which a chicken or money may beused. Kapparot using chickens is practiced by some Jews shortly beore Yom Kippur, the JewishDay o Atonement. First, selections rom Isaiah11:9, Psalms 107:10, 14, and 17-21, and Job33:23-24 are recited. Ten a rooster (or a man)or a hen (or a woman) is held above the person’shead and swung in a circle three times, while theollowing is spoken: “Tis is my exchange, my substitute, my atonement; this rooster (or hen)shall go to its death, but I shall go to a good, long lie, and to peace.” Te chicken is then slaughteredand may or may not be given to the poor or ood.
History of kapparot
Kapparot is not mentioned in the orah or thealmud. It was rst discussed by certain Jewishscholars in the ninth century who claimed thatsince the Hebrew word
meant both “man”and “rooster,” punishment o the bird could besubstituted or that o a human. According tothe Encyclopedia Judaica, other Jewish scholarsstrongly opposed kapparot. Te 13th-century scholar Rabbi Solomon ben Abraham Aderetconsidered kapparot a heathen superstition. Rabbi Joseph Caro called it a “oolish custom.” Othershave pointed out that kapparot does not removesins, and i it could, what would be the need or Yom Kippur, the Day o Atonement?
More recent objections to kapparot
“Anyone who walks through the markets can see that the manner in which the chickens are held beore the Kapparot is insuferable. Tere is no veterinary supervision and no concern or the eelings o these poor creatures.”
–Rabbi Gilad Kariv quoted inynetnews.com 09/28/2006Te chickens are treated poorly in the days leading up to, during, and ater the kapparot ceremony.In the U.S., Israel and elsewhere where the ritualis perormed, the birds are crammed in crates, where they are typically kept in their ownexcrement, without ood, water or shelter,or six days beore the “shlug kaparos”(“swinging o the chickens”) is perormed onthe eve o Yom Kippur. In 2005 and 2006,the ASPCA in New York City conscatedhundreds o starving chickens abandoned incrates in a garage and a parking lot when theceremony was over. Chedva Vanderbrook,a board member o the Jerusalem SPCA,described a typical scene in Jerusalem: “Techickens are brought to the slaughter incramped cages without water in the broiling sun. Hal o them die on the way.”In 2006, Nazila Mahgereteh describedthe events she watched take place in Los Angeles:
“For 6 days until Oct. 1, morning
Chickens abandoned by Kapparot practitioners in Brooklyn, NYin October 2005. Photo by: Sam SchlossKapparot chicken found injured and covered with feces in SantaMonica, CA on September 20, 1996. Photo by: Cherylynn BrownKapparot practitioner performs chicken-swinging ritual in Israelin 2003. Photo by: Agence France-Presse