Following up to the story posted on Friday, a federal judge in Los Angeles has granted a temporary restraining order preventing Chabad of Irvine from sacrificing chickens in their kapparot ritual.
U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte Jr. granted the TRO sought by United Poultry Concerns. He scheduled a hearing on a preliminary injunction for Thursday morning, even though Yom Kippur ends Wednesday night.
Actually, since Yom Kippur starts on Tuesday at sundown this year, the kapparot rituals are most likely to occur from Monday till Tuesday afternoon (though Chabad states that any time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is considered acceptable for this blood ritual). Most practitioners of the ritual will be preparing for synagogue Tuesday evening and will be in Yom Kippur services Tuesday night where they will bang their chests and plead for God to forgive the sins for which their slaughtered chicken died in vain.
I recommend this Chabad page on kapparot for some insight of how twisted and superstitious the Chabad sect is. Here are some examples:
Several reasons have been suggested for the choice of a chicken to perform the kaparot rite: 1) In Aramaic, a rooster is known as a gever. In Hebrew, a gever is a man. Thus we take a gever to atone for a gever. 2) A chicken is a commonly found fowl and relatively inexpensive. 3) It is not a species that was eligible for offering as a sacrifice in the Holy Temple. This precludes the possibility that someone should erroneously conclude that the kaparot is a sacrifice.
- So, does this mean that kapparot is an alternative to human sacrifice? Or suicide?
- So why not a mouse, or a cat? Must the animal be “kosher”? In fact the post-slaughter kashrut status of the kapparot chickens is in question anyway due to the on-site slaughter volume and lack of observation over the ritual slaughterers. This makes them unsuitable for kosher-observant Jews to eat. And the lack of refrigeration in these kapparot operations makes them unsuitable for anyone to eat.
- Most people on the streets of New York, Los Angeles, or any modern civilized society are not likely to think “animal sacrifice to HaShem” before seeing it as animal cruelty. Only practitioners of kapparot – like Chabad – would think this way.
It is customary to use a white chicken, to recall the verse (Isaiah 1:18), “If your sins prove to be like crimson, they will become white as snow.” In any event, one should not use a black chicken, as black is the color that represents divine severity and discipline. [Ed.-bold]
In the event that more than one person share a kaparot chicken, they should do the kaparot together, not one after the other. For one cannot do kaparot with a “used” chicken.
No pre-sin-filled chickens! And no black chickens (or black cats).
A pregnant woman should perform kaparot with three chickens—two hens and a rooster. One hen for herself, and the other hen and rooster for the unborn child (of undetermined gender). Or, if this is too expensive, one hen and one rooster will suffice (and if the fetus is female, she shares the hen with her mother).
I recall one local Chabad rabbi especially proud of the fact that his pregnant wife had three chickens slaughtered, a hen for her and a rooster and hen for their (apparently sinful) unborn child.
- Rest both your hands on the bird—as was customarily done when bringing a sacrifice in the Holy Temple.
So they use an animal that won’t be mistaken for a sacrifice, and then treat it like a Temple sacrifice.
- It is customary in many communities to tip the shochet for his service.
Because the price of the bird is not enough for Chabad, and they are always asking for a ‘little more.’ So here we witness the birth of another moneymaking custom.
Even the smallest of children are traditionally brought to kaparot, and one of their parents passes the chicken over the child’s head, while saying, “This is your exchange, this is your substitute, this is your expiation…”
This is simply foolishness and indoctrination, if not merely a tactic to sell kapparot chickens. According to Jewish law, a child is neither responsible, nor held accountable for the performance or transgression of Torah mitzvot until the age of their bat or bar mitzvah (12 for girls, 13 for boys).
Take note of the comments in that Chabad page as well, where many are misled to believe that the dead animals are actually given to charity or needy families. In fact, the chickens are almost always thrown in the trash (many times not yet dead and struggling to hang on to life). So the reality is that a lie (as well as animal abuse and cruelty) is built into this custom meant to atone for sins. Oh, the irony.
The end of the Mynewsla.com article calls out this ritual for what it is.
“Defendants’ stated purpose in carrying out the killing described herin is to allow people to transfer their sins to the animal, and then kill the animal for their sins,” the lawsuit alleges.
“Engaging in such conduct under the guise of religion does not alter the illegality of the conduct. In fact, taking out vengeance on an innocent animal for one’s own shortcomings is exactly the type of societal evil the legislature sought to prohibit in enacting this provision.” [Ed.-bold]
And taking out vengeance on an innocent animal for one’s own shortcomings is exactly the type behavior your local Chabad rabbi and his family is likely to engage in this erev Yom Kippur. And that’s also the kind of superstitious mindset that you’ll encounter in Chabad yearlong.
If this bothers you, then speak with your legs and your money. Find a more humane group of people with whom to pray on Yom Kippur, and direct your charitable donations (tzdakah) to a more humane and caring organization.
If I could only get one message out to current visitors and new readers of this blog this year it would be: Find out what your Chabad rabbi doesn’t tell you – DO YOUR RESEARCH!