A young Jewish man waves a female chicken over his wife’s head in the neighborhood of Meah Shearim, Jerusalem, as part of the Kaparot ritual. The rite is supposed to transfer her sins from last year onto the innocent bird, and the sinful chicken is then given to the poor.
But, wait a minute, if the poor will eat the soup that was made from the sinful chicken, wouldn’t he or she reacquire the man’s wife’s sins?
Our Friend rabbi Josh Yuter from the Stanton Street Shul has tweeted recently that we should combine the two minhagim of Tashlich and Kaparot and throw live chickens into the ocean.
It should make a splash…
One of the few times I did Kaparot was under the Delancey Street bridge, back in the early 1980s. There was a kosher chicken market there for the holidays, and it smelled, well, fowl. The bird felt warm and frightened in my arms, and it endured silently the spinning and the verses I was saying, which, had he understood English should have alerted him to what came next…
I know he would have much preferred a swim in the ocean…
About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.
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