8/29/07

The Forward: Rabbis Push Pagan Rituals - Let's Not Do Them

Kapparot are "a practice generally performed during the period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in which a live chicken is swung over one’s head in a gesture of transferring one’s sins of the past year onto the animal."

Hey, let's not do this. This is a bizarre pagan ritual. Not my opinion but that of Maimonides and Joseph Caro, author of the Shulchan Aruch.

The Forward:

The kapparot ceremony is one of the more colorful elements of the High Holy Days but one of the most historically fraught. Maimonides and later Joseph Caro, author of the authoritative code of Jewish law, both claimed that kapparot had its roots in pagan ritual and should be abandoned by religious Jews. But Moses Isserles, the famed 16th-century talmudist from Krakow promoted the practice, as did many of the founders of Hasidic Jewish sects.

Today, many Modern Orthodox Jews swing money, instead of chickens, over their heads. But Hasidic Jews have retained the use of the live animals. Men are instructed to use roosters, which are grasped by their shoulder blades and rotated above the person’s head three times. Women use hens for the ritual (two if the practitioner is pregnant). The animal is then supposed to be slaughtered immediately after the ritual and donated to a poor family.

NO NO NO let's not swing chickens around this year. We are not pagans.

3 comments:

bryce said...

"Hey, let's not do this. This is a bizarre pagan ritual. Not my opinion but that of Maimonides and Joseph Caro, author of the Shulchan Aruch."

The Shelah and Isaac Luria differ. I'd leave the insinuation that these men were pagans to Rambam and R' Caro.

(Personally, I don't do kapparos.)

esther said...

I swing a rubber chicken, but I'm an Marxist (Groucho)

andy said...

I swing the paper-mache chickens that my kids bring home, along with money.