Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Kapparot ritual on the eve of Yom Kippur


Jews in Arab countries* practised the custom of Kapparot on the eve of Yom Kippur. It is still practised in Israel but nowadays, animal rights campaigners may also be in attendance. These photos were taken in Mahane Yehuda market two years ago. Report in Israel News.

Kapparot
, which is from the same Hebrew root as Yom Kippur and literally means ‘atonements,’ is a custom which aims to awaken the drive toward repentance while engaging in charity on the eve of Judaism’s central day of prayer.

The practice of kapparot using live fowl entails the following: A male or female chicken is taken in hand, corresponding to the gender of the taker or family members on whose behalf they are performing the ritual. Psalm 107:17-20 and Job 33:23-24 are recited and the live bird is swung around the person’s head three times. While swinging, the person recites the following three times: “This be my substitute, my vicarious offering, my atonement. This cock (or hen) shall meet death, but I shall find a long and pleasant life of peace.”

Read article in full

* Ashkenazi Jews (thank you, Independent Observer) too practised the ritual.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm an Ashkenaz, born in Canada in 1952 to two Canadian born Jews. We never observed the Kapparot ritual, but I do recall my father talking about his Polish-born father taking him down to the local Jewish market and purchasing a fowl in order to wring its neck and give the bird to a needy family for the meal after the fast ends. (My mother grew up in a small town with very few Jewish families and therefore had no such memories.)

IndependentObserver said...

The Ashkenazim also practised the ritual, termed "shlogn kapores".

Here is a link:
http://www.chgs.umn.edu/museum/responses/fluek/shlognKapores.html

I have the impression rabbis sometimes discouraged the practise, considering it as a mild form of superstition.

IndependentObserver said...

Here is another form of the above URL:

http://tinyurl.com/4nlyyj

Or, Google "shlogn kapores" for more.