bounced up from october 1st, 2006
swing the chicken three times around your head. pass to it your sins and cleans yourself.
and then, send the sinful chicken to hell!
don’t you feel purified now?
the innocence of children often seems wiser than the experience of their parents…
another two points for religion!
a year has past. yom kippur is once again at our doorstep, here in the jewish world.
karen horwitz recently commented on the original post: “Since I was a little girl my mother had me put a dime in a handkerchief and say the kaparot prayer three times and give the money to charity. My grandmother was orthodox and it was called caporah.”
yes karen, as a child that’s the way i remember it too. but the weird part is that the ultra-orthodox see it differently. can’t God be appeased without the slaughtering of a chicken?
what is yom kippur … the day of atonements? the central theme of this holy day is atonement and penance from sins, firstly against one’s fellow man and secondly against god. many traditions have evolved; fasting, prayer, wearing white, no bathing or washing, no wearing of leather shoes, oh! and no sex either! “For on this day He will forgive you, to purify you, that you be cleansed from all your sins before G-d” (Leviticus 16:30)
so what do chicken have to do with it? maybe a trace of sacrifices in the ancient temple. maybe remnants of pagan practices. superstition. this is the prayer recited as the live chicken is waved three times above the head just prior to it being butchered: “This is my exchange, this is my substitute, this is my atonement. This chicken will go to its death while I will enter and proceed to a good long life, and peace“.
packed in small cages in the markets and main streets of many cities, if you look closely you’ll see they’re barely moving. they hold their beaks open from thirst, hunger and suffocation after many hours in the sun, sometimes days. eye movements are evidence that they are still alive. barely. on this the holiest of days, why is so much slaughter necessary? why is so much cruelty to animals necessary? butchering them without mercy as we ask for mercy for ourselves, for atonement, for forgiveness.
there’s another way – read the paper chicken
going back to the essence of yom kippur i am not going to slaughter a chicken but i ask you, dorit, uri, tamar and hila, for forgiveness. your forgiveness for moments of anger, for things i said that i shouldn’t have, for moments of impatience, for not always being attentive to your feelings and your needs, for not always fulfilling your expectations.
i apologize and ask your forgiveness.
amended september 21st 2007:
a child of 3-4 months; how many sins has he accumulated to justify the slaughter of another chicken?
after less than half an hour of shooting the butchers began to get annoyed with me, worried i might harm their ‘business’. i welcomed their censure, it was a time to leave. i was sick to my stomach.