≡ Menu

To all of you who are rallying against kaparot

yom kippurI’m not sure how it happened, but it looks like there are a growing number of supposedly religious Jews doing the anti-Semites work for them. It used to be that some raging liberal would suddenly decide one day that one of our ancient practices was not humane and then try to ban it. They’ve done it with shchitah, bris milah, and now they don’t have to lift a finger in order to ban kaparos. While everyone is suddenly against kaparos, I will be sure to offload my sins onto a chicken this year.

I’ve seen videos, blog posts, facebook rallies, and all sorts of mixed media put out by Jews, mostly religious, that are trying to convince us to use a fish or money. Do they not realize that they are worse than one who is moser another Jew? Now how on earth did this happen? Since when did frum Jews suddenly care about treating animals humanely. Are these same people who are rallying against kaparos, prepared to deal with the banning of bris milah or shechitah? Do these same people eat only organic pasture raised meat, or are they eating feedlot cows from South America that are still shackled and hoisted before shechted. I’m not sure that these anti-kaparos people realize the danger they are potentially creating for religious Jews worldwide.

Sure, it’s cool to jump on the liberal animal rights band wagon, but there is always a cost. If you are against kaparos, you should surely be against ritual circumcision. Basically, this movement is led by a bunch of baalei teshuva who don’t realize that they just shot themselves in the foot. You can’t pick and choose, kaparos may be inhumane, but many other rituals and teachings in traditional Judaism are inhumane.

At least this guy tries to make kaparos look good by making factory farming look bad, I’m not sure if it’s going to work.

Find out more about kaparos on 4torah.com

{ 21 comments… add one }
  • A. Nuran September 12, 2013, 10:26 PM

    You want to sacrifice a chicken? Cool. “Wave Dead Chicken Over Server” and “Sacrifice One (1) Goat to Picture of Larry Ellison” are part of O’Reilly’s Super-Secret Sysadmin Manual.

    You’re right about that last line. “I’m not doing anything much worse than what goes on at a Tyson’s Chicken plant which skipped its last two USDA inspections” isn’t just setting the bar low. It’s digging down to the Mohorovi?i? discontinuity

  • Crowin' Cock September 13, 2013, 4:21 AM

    Nothing wrong with using fish, I remember my grandfather with carp in the tub. I took my kids to stocked trout ponds in the past, made for tasty lunch before the fast.

    That being said, I don’t see why using a fish would be any more “humane” than using a chicken, they are both living creatures. One has it’s throat slit, the other gets it’s head smashed, neck broken, or may be left to flap around and suffocate by some of these “humane” people.

    The benefit of using a chicken is that you get to make the bracha on Kisui hadam.

  • Yochanan September 13, 2013, 4:26 AM


    Opposition to Kapparot is not a modern thing. It’s been going on since the beginning.

    • Anonymous September 20, 2013, 3:08 AM

      It’s a bit more complicated than that. Objections to kapparot on the grounds that it is cruelty to animals is a pretty recent development, though I have seen one or two responsa that object to it on the grounds that the meat often winds up being wasted. I suspect that this business of assembly-line kapparot (you know, trucking in a load of chickens in tiny cages, leaving them out in the sun for hours, and basically torturing them) is also a pretty recent development- 150 years ago, you probably just went out to your yard, picked a chicken that you were going to eat anyways before YK, and swung it around your head before slaughtering it.
      The more ancient objections to kapparot are not on the basis of cruelty to animals but rather on the basis of it being a non-Jewish ritual. The first one to raise this point seems to have been the Rashba, whose opinion was accepted by the Bet Yosef, but the majority of Rishonim seem to differ. I don’t think that the Rambam mentions the custom, and from what I know of his philosophy, he probably wouldn’t approve.
      Interesting to note that Rashi in Shabbat 80-something mentions in passing what sounds like an early form of kapparot done with plants.
      My personal objections to kapparot with chickens have less to do with any of the above and more to do with it being uncomfortably close to performing a sacrifice. The frumest of the frum will tell you right away- sacrifices outside the Temple are strictly forbidden. I guess it’s not technically a sacrifice, but it seems to me that anything even close to a sacrifice should be reserved for the Temple.

  • David September 13, 2013, 7:33 AM

    Humane-shumane! Its straight-up avodah zerah and hukat goyim. Stop with the erev YK voodoo, hoo-doo, juju sacrifices already!

  • Ari Gold September 13, 2013, 7:05 PM

    I never understood this ritual. You transfer your sins to the chickens, but then some folks eat the chicken or they give it to another person. Now is that not transferring your sins back to you after you eat it or if you give it to someone else you are handing them your sins. Remember “you are what you eat.”

    • A. Nuran September 14, 2013, 7:55 PM

      And when the chicken is digested the … errr …. residue is treated and used as fertilizer. The sins get turned into everyone’s food for the rest of the year.

    • Anonymous September 20, 2013, 3:12 AM

      If you think you can transfer your sins to a chicken (or acquire someone else’s by eating one) you probably don’t need to fast on yom kippur- an insane person is exempt from all mitzvos.

  • nowwhat September 14, 2013, 5:44 PM

    Yeah, you should shove that kaparot chicken full of feathers and sin right down your own throat.

  • Tamara September 15, 2013, 11:31 AM

    Heshy, this might be one of the first times in all the years we’ve known each other that I’m REALLY responding. I protested 3 nights against the kapparot happening at the end of my block and one block over. Yes, I’m a plant based eater. Yes, I believe in the rights of animals. NO, I’m far from perfect and still have shoes with leather and such. BUT, for me anyway, protesting kapparot wasn’t about getting people to become vegetarian or activists. For me it’s about the atrocities I was witnessing as I drove through my neighborhood. I do not live on a farm, a feedlot, nor a slaughter house; I live in a modern, urban community (as you know). What I saw you ask?

    Crates and crates (stacked about 10 feet high) of live chickens, 5 or 6 or more per metal grated cage. The cages were too short for those creatures to stand. There was ZERO (and yes, I drove by every morning, afternoon, and was out there for 3 nights) food or water for more than five days. ZERO. To top that cruelty off, the chickens on top were shitting and pissing on the ones below. ALL the chickens had shit and piss on them along with blood and broken egg shells, now dried, and stuck to their feathers. If this is a holy ceremony, then everything about the way those animals go to slaughter needs to be kosher. We are commanded to have compassion and respect for all of G-d’s creations. There was none of that happening in Pico Robertson. Oh, and “but the chickens will go to feed the poor” argument…not so. We have photos of city sanitation coming to pick up numerous bags. What was in those bags? Well, one of the protesters cut one open and, no, I’m not exaggerating here, dead bodies of chickens and puddles of blood spilled out. Yes. This is all true. The two places near me were shut down by the state. It was really bad. I could go on and on about the blood and feathers and entrails being hosed into city gutters. I could tell you about the supposedly holy rabbi cursing at us. I could go on about the guy who suggested we all had abortions and that women were worthless shit (yes, this does not reflect all of the community, I know).

    In all fairness I’ll end by saying that many of the frum Jews stopped and talked to me. They heard my argument about humane treatment and true kosher slaughter. Some turned away. And luckily, one shul agreed to surrender chickens nightly and more than 60 are now living in animal sanctuaries and few in people’s personal chicken coops.

    So…THAT is why this non Torah or Talmudic ritual must stop.

    • A. Nuran September 16, 2013, 2:56 PM

      That’s a very thought-provoking post. Thank you.

    • Sholom September 16, 2013, 5:31 PM

      Actually, it very much does reflect on the community.

    • Anonymous September 20, 2013, 2:59 AM

      Hmmmm…. you’re arguing against the performance of the ritual itself, when what really seems to bother you is the way it’s carried out in practice. If the animals were treated humanely (within reason) before slaughtering, and the meat was eaten, would you still object?

      • Tamara September 21, 2013, 9:27 PM

        I still believe it’s unethical, and as a vegetarian of 25+ years, I’m opposed to slaughtering; however, I know not everyone believes as I do, nor do I expect them to, so what I would hope ideally is for the practice to stop altogether. I don’t believe there is an ethical way to mass slaughter, albeit for ritual, in an ethical manner. Now, if you are raising your own chickens, going out, performing the ritual, then feeding your family – fine. That’s likely how our ancestors did it. They didn’t get chickens from factory farms. The chickens weren’t abused from birth. They chickens weren’t in battery cages, nor were they genetically altered to grow faster for meat production. They also weren’t mass laying eggs. I failed to mention something else I personally witnessed, the people running the Kapparot places lied to their community, calling hens roosters and roosters hens. Some people did the blessing over the wrong gender. Everyone getting fooled here.

  • Telz Angel September 16, 2013, 10:48 AM

    In my house we put a little felt black hat and peiyos on an Angry Bird doll. We passed it over our heads and accused it of ruining Judaism with fanatic anti-intellectualism and revisionism of halacha and then bashed the crap out of it.

    • Anonymous September 19, 2013, 5:26 PM

      Ah yes! Now this is a 58th century minhag we should all get behind!

  • Hadassah September 22, 2013, 11:18 PM

    use coins. problem solved.

  • Hadassah September 22, 2013, 11:19 PM

    use coins. problem solved.

Leave a Comment