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A Schlugging Primer

Winter-112213-Zeh-Kaporosi

Additionally, while the author correctly notes that one is not required to ensure that every last drop of blood is covered when performing kisui hadam, it is interesting to note that the Chinuch (siman 187) and others do indeed require that the blood be entirely covered. An extra handful of sawdust should make complying with this opinion quick and easy.

Finally, the issue of whether one should recite she’hechiyanu when performing the mitzvah of kisui hadam for the first time is also an intriguing topic. The Rema, (Yoreh De’ah 28:2) and the Mateh Efraim are of the opinion that she’hechiyanu should indeed be recited when performing kisui hadam for the first time. On the other hand, the Shach (Yoreh De’ah 28:5) and the Peri Chadash (Yoreh De’ah 28:5) rule that it should not be recited. Although Rabbi Reit advises against reciting she’hechiyanu, he offers readers the option of preparing a new fruit (or presumably a new shirt) for those who wish to do so. According to this method, when reciting the she’hechiyanu one should have in mind that it is intended to cover both the mitzvah of kisui hadam as well as the new item.

Although chickens around the world have already come out in fierce opposition to this new sefer, do not be swayed by their claims of Amorite influence. The sefer is exceptionally well done and superbly written for all audiences. With its supplementary sections it is sure to serve well as a reference guide throughout the year, not just during the kaparot season. Whether you’re the type that considers kaparot to be on par with issues such as Shabbat, kashrut, and niddah or, alternatively, on par with issues such as upsherin, nittel nacht, and silly red strings, this is certainly a valuable sefer and a worthwhile contribution to the world of halacha and minhag literature in English.

About the Author: Rabbi Ari N. Enkin, who performs some form of kaparot in most years, is a resident of Ramat Beit Shemesh and a researcher and writer of contemporary halachic issues. He is the author of “The Dalet Amot Halacha Series” (five volumes), among other works of halacha. He welcomes books of a halachic nature for review. E-mail him at rabbiari@hotmail.com.


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The sefer opens with the origins of the kaparot custom. Readers may be surprised to learn that kaparot – at least in some form – might date back to the Talmudic era, with Rashi testifying about a custom to use a plant for kaparot.

I’ve always had an interest in the intersect between halacha, history, and archaeology. It is this interest that led me to research and write about the status of Purim in modern-day Israeli cities that are adjacent to ancient cities that had a wall around them in the days of Yehoshua Bin Nun. I concluded, in regards to Beit Shemesh at least, that there is much merit in observing a second day of Purim, on the 15th of Adar.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/books/book-reviews/a-schlugging-primer/2013/11/21/

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