send the sinful chicken to hell! take II

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!

amended:

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.

nir

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.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “send the sinful chicken to hell! take II

  1. I really don’t know what to say for now. I do believe we shall have some good conversation as we travel the roads of Israel together.

    I pray you find forgiveness without dead chickens.
    Save the chickens! 🙂

    peace and forgiveness to you and your family in this “Holy” time.
    johno~

  2. Do you know what happens to the slaughtered chicken?
    “Indeed, it is customary to provide the slaughtered chicken to a poor person.”
    http://www.aish.com/hhyomk/hhyomkdefault/Wings_and_Prayers.asp

    Are you a vegetarian?

    By the way – great Pictures.

  3. Here is a really good article about chicken slaughter and how it connects to judaism.
    http://www.aish.com/societyWork/society/Judaism_and_Vegetarianism.asp

  4. nir

    hi aaron!

    thanks for the links! truth is i am quite knowledgeable about jewish feeding laws, kashrut, and no, i’m not a vegetarian.
    i also watch national geographic lions tear apart their prey without wincing because to feed is one thing, and senseless killing is another.

    this may surprise you but let me tell you what happens to the majority of those chickens after slaughter. first of all you buy the chicken by weight. you pay the merchant. second, the shochet gets about $2.00 a head. now after everyone has your money they perform the ritual of kaparot and unless you are one of a selected few who take the chickens home to the oven, the carcasses are thrown in the filth and stench to rot in the sun. by the end of the day, the eve of yom kippur, there is nothing sensible to do with them because all businesses are closed. most of the carcases are thrown in the garbage by the arab workers.

    but everyone is satisfied because the merchant and shochet got their money and you are purified of your sins. a very convenient operation.

    there’s an alternative by the way – “pidyon kaparot” – pure and sincere donation of cash to the poor. no stench of dead chickens!

  5. Nir,

    perform the ritual of kaparot and unless you are one of a selected few who take the chickens home to the oven, the carcasses are thrown in the filth and stench to rot in the sun. by the end of the day, the eve of yom kippur, there is nothing sensible to do with them because all businesses are closed. most of the carcases are thrown in the garbage by the arab workers.

    You make a very valid point here. There is an important concept I have learned is that the chicken is supposed to go to feed the poor.

    My solution is that one should “take the chickens home to the oven. However there is the problem of completing the necessary kosher processing so that the chickens should be fit to be cooked!

    The process is time consuming, and who wants to do this on erev Yom Kippor!

    If the idea is to truly feed the poor, then one could make a good case for proper care after the chicken is slaughtered. I believe the major issue has to do with what happens to the chicken after it is slaughtered.

    If it is true that “the carcasses are thrown in the filth and stench to rot in the sun” then I believe there truly is a problem with the ritual and it is up to the religious community that performs the rituals to collectively clean up the post slaughter handling of the chickens.

    Aharon Moshe

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