Jerusalem – Kaporos Ritual Conspicuously Absent On Streets Of Jerusalem


    An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man swings a live chicken over the head of his daughter while reciting prayers for the 'Kaparot' ritual in Bnei Brak, outside Tel Aviv, 01 October 2014. EPAJerusalem – The custom of kapparot, where a live chicken is taken and ritually lofted over a person’s head before it is slaughtered, has been absent so far this year from the streets of Jerusalem, and other locations where the practice is commonly observed, due to strict regulations from the Ministry of Agriculture it was claimed on Wednesday.

    However, it is thought that arrangements are in place that will enable the rite to be performed on Thursday.

    For those who practice kapparot, which means “atonement,” it is supposed to be done before Yom Kippur and is meant to symbolically transfer the sins of the person performing the ceremony to the chicken. Once slaughtered, the chicken is usually given to a charity for use in the preparation of meals for the needy.

    It is a controversial practice and concerns are frequently expressed about suffering caused to the birds before and during the ritual. Chief Rabbi David Lau spoke out against the practice last year.

    The radical Eda Haredit organization, and others, claimed this week that the Ministry of Agriculture had issued strict animal welfare guidelines to farms and delivery companies for the chickens being used in the custom, designed to all but prevent the practice from taking place.

    According to the claims, the ministry’s guidelines have scared off suppliers from delivering chickens for fear of falling foul to heavy fines if the animal welfare standards are not met.

    At least two designated sites for kapparot in Jerusalem were not in use on Wednesday and the custom has been virtually impossible to fulfil during the past week according to various well placed sources.

    The Veterinary Service of the Ministry of Agriculture did issue specific guidelines about the conduct of kapparot on August 19, but categorically denied that the practice had been banned, and said the regulations that were published were not new but had simply been made clearer and more coherent for every relevant actor in the kapparot process.

    The guidelines stipulate that vehicles transporting the chickens be authorised to transport livestock; that there be a delivery supervisor during the period of transportation; specific locations only be used for the ceremony; that the chickens be brought directly from the farm to the kapparot location and from there directly to the slaughterhouse without interim stops; that there be shade from sun and shelter from rain for the birds and air flow for the cages; and a prohibition against slaughtering the chickens where the kapparot takes placeץ

    In addition, the birds must not be slaughtered more than eight hours after the performance of the ceremony and the times of delivery to the kapparot ceremony location and subsequently to the slaughterhouse recorded by the delivery supervisor.

    A source in the Eda Haredit claimed that the terms for kapparot were designed to be so strict as to prevent the practice from taking place and said it was a gross infringement on freedom of religion.

    A public notice which appeared in Jerusalem on Wednesday said that “since the evil regime forbade the people of God the haredim from fulfilling the custom of kapparot with live birds in accordance with the customs of our fathers, we announce that anyone who can fulfil the custom with chickens should do so and anyone who cannot because of the decrees of the government should fulfil the custom this year with money and donate it to charity.”

    At one site in Jerusalem designated for kapparot, an agent said that despite the difficulties experienced so far he expected that birds would be supplied on Thursday and said that his site would be facilitating the ceremony all day long.

    The HaPeles haredi daily newspaper reported on Wednesday that “rabbis” had expressed their sorrow for the ministry’s behaviour and told the newspaper that “the State of Israel is joining an ‘honorable’ list of countries that forbid the fulfilment of religious commandments in public under ‘humane’ excuses, and Jews will be forced to fulfil the ancient custom in secret and darkness,” adding that “no-one should think that such obstacles would prevent Jews continuing the custom practiced by their fathers and great-grandfathers over hundreds of years.”

    The kapparot rite is meant to symbolically transfer one’s sins onto the chicken, although the practice is not mentioned in the Torah or the Talmud, and is believed to have originated among Jewish communities in the 9th century in Babylon.

    Animal rights organizations have frequently reported that the birds can be left for hours and even days in small cages, frequently without food and water, and often outside in the sun.

    The ritual cab also be performed by substituting the chickens with money which is donated to charity afterwards.

    Several important rabbinic figures have opposed the practice with chickens, including the 13th-century Spanish sage Nahmanides and Rabbi Yosef Karo, a 15th century scholar who lived in Spain, Turkey and Israel and is renowned for his comprehensive guide to Jewish law, the Shulchan Aruch.

    Karo wrote that the tradition of using a chicken for Kapparot should be avoided, out of a concern that it was originally a non-Jewish practice.

    Rabbinic authorities from Ashkenazi communities nevertheless approved of the custom and ruled that it should be continued.

    Content is provided courtesy of the Jerusalem Post

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    1. Truely said, this ceremony was taken from the goyim and has no reference in the torah or talmud, it appeared in golus as have many other things such as the challos used on shabbos today , braided, round , shlissel shaped etc. In the days of the bais hamikdash the korban effected forgiveness ,after the churban the prayers and charity did the same

      • Your reisha has nothing to do with your seifa. Just because it doesn’t appear in the “Torah or talmud” doesn’t mean it’s fahrgoyisht. “Zochreinu lechaim” doesn’t appear in the “Torah or talmud” either but you wouldn’t say it was “taken from the goyim.”

      • While the Shulchan Aruch does discourage Kapparos, The ReMah reports that it was an ancient Minhag. –It is reminiscent of Korbanos or Seir La’azazel. As far as the braided Challah , the Midrash states that God braided Chava’s hair (on Friday) prior to presenting her to Adam, right before Shabbos.

        In addition, Women traditionally have baked Challas for Shabbos and in so doing perform the Mitzva of Challah -because Adam (Man) was/is considered Challah shel Olam…symbolism my friend. Similarly women light candles Friday night to counteract the darkness brought about by sin (also occurred on Friday). At the onset of the Shabbos, which presents a state of near perfection -when mankind is free from work and mundane earthly troubles and concerns., and is able to focus on the light, i.e Torah, mitzvos and Hashem….

        Symbolism my friend….

        מִזְמוֹר שִׁיר, לְיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת
        טוֹב, לְהֹדוֹת לַיהוָה; וּלְזַמֵּר לְשִׁמְךָ עֶלְיוֹן

      • You are a bit clueless about how halacha and minhagim work

        This has been around from the time of the geonim its quoted by the ros”h and the tu”r and the ram”a the giants of halacha

        I’m not sure how you paskin what’s halacha or not but us Jews go according to the shulchan aruch which brings down this din

        So before you put down Jews for doing what it says in shulchan aruch you should figure out how the Jewish system of halacha works

        • I think the MECHABER (author of the Shlchan Arukh) was against this minhag, as was the Rambam, Rashba and possibly the Ritva. So it’s not quite true that the “Shulchan aruch…brings down this din”. The RAMA brings it as a minhag (AND the Rama also says one is supposed to wear tefillin on Chol HaMoed, but many people who are moser nefesh for kapparos don’t seem care much about the Rama when it comes to tefillin on chol hamoed), but the Mechaber (Beis Yosef) is AGAINST IT. Many Rishonim were against it, but the yetzer for “magical” ceremonies is hard to fight against.

          • Its true the mechaber was against it but for us Ashkenazim our shulchan aruch is what the rem”a paskins

            Calling yidden that follow what the rem”a says as coming from the “yetzer” and “majical ceremonies” is disgusting and I think you should ask mechilla from the Rama and reshonim achronim that hold of it

    2. “The ‘RADICAL’ Eda Haredit organization”. Although radical is an adjective that describes an extreme in contrast to what is either the established standard or the average and mediocre, and is therefore never an absolute, and as such it can invariably be totally innocuous, the word currently is commonly associated with extremely bloodthirsty and ruthless groups that (falsely) misinterpret their scriptures as a manual for barbaric practices, which are eagerly performed with fanatical zealousness. No matter what side of the political divide you inhabit, anybody that knows anything about the Eda Haredit would admit that it is unfair to paint them with the same brush. I appreciate that vosizneias mentions at the bottom of the article that it is a verbatim copy of a well-known anti-Hareidi publication, nevertheless I feel that vosizneias’s editors should expunge objectionable adjectives that are nonchalantly stealthily placed to libel the good name of individuals or organisations who the anti-Hareidi press dislikes (and sometimes fear) due to their Torah-true beliefs.

    3. If it is true that the chickens are left out without food and water in the sun it might be mitzvah habah bavaira and it is hard to blame the govt to take action however if everything is done with care what is wrong with shechting it?

    4. thanks to the yideshe jewish (so called) medina, they must meddle in all the religious laws or mesorah – in NY the gentiles don’t seem to meddle in religious laws, and respect all religions 100 fold compared to israel

    5. If this would happen in NYC,Berlin,Timbuktu, Dov Hikind & his ilk would have had an epiliptic fit, calling press conferences & condeming the restriction of religious freedom… But because this Is happening in the (un)holy medina all is fine….

    6. I never thought that having moved to Israel I would have to shtil aheit do Kapporos & watch my chicken being schechted. For 30 years I never had a problem in New York & here, in the “Holy” Land?? Now some members of my community are getting personal phone calls to be at a certain place at a certain time to do Kapores the way we and our ancestors did it. We have to hide like thieves in the night? We are living in Communist Russia? It’s horrible. I was in Meah Shearim yesterday & usually there a Kapores signs directing people where to go. Nothing. So they resort to a hen here, a rooster there, in back alleys before the police come. It’s nothing less than disgraceful.

    7. don’t know about Israel but would think that its shechted on the spot and a lot of the women there know what to do with a chicken
      here in ny they give you the same chicked that ten or more people used
      you have no way of knowing
      then its not schected but supposedly given to schoctim or others
      I believe its baloney and ends up in the same place the shamos ends up in the garbage
      its a business like everything else

      in Europe it was done as people used the chicken for the seuda


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