Sunday, September 12, 2010

Kapparrot Comments

I was taught as a boy to use coins instead. of chickens The Mechaber attacks the practice as Darchei Emori based upon some teshuvos to be found in be'er hagolah - though the Rema does defend the practice.

There are numerous problems with this practice TODAY in a modern Urban society. Suffice it to say, that in the absence of Minhag Avot or a STRONG community minhag [Minhag Hamaqom] I would venture to say even the Rema would concede the mechabeir's point.

Objections include:

1. Darchie Emori as above
2. Tza'ar ba'alei Chaim
3. Hillu Hashem

Theis last point can be shown in Hilchot Aveilus that many practices that are specifc int he gemara - e.g. kefiyas hamitta and Atifat Harosh - were eliminated because "what would the Gentiles say?"

There are heterim to wear shoes to shul on Tsiha b'av for the same reason. Any public "shlugging of Kaparos" that does not respect the tza'ar balie chayim of the chickens is therefore really problematic since there is no halachic requirement to do so! And aderabba the damage could be great!

That said if individuals have a strong community of family custom and they seem to know how to handle the chicken and they are discreet, I would not object to preserving their legacy. Rather I simply oppose popularizing something that many in the previous generations thought was a good idea to switch to coins.

FWIW - there is a family "legend" that when one child witnessed kaporas live he became a vegetarian as a result.

Josh commented in 2007 ...
How can we reconcile the fact that we even have an option to do something so cruel to a chicken with Judaism's general immense respect for all life?
Rabbi Richard Wolpoe replied ...

To answer Josh's question: Either the old custom was less cruel OR People were less sensitive in those days and did not experience it as cruelty But I agree that if it is perceived as cruel NOW, it should be done away with or at least be modified to be as gentle as possible. Make Sense?
Shana Tova


Previously Published 18 September, 2007 12:42 AM

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Competing Images of Rosh Hashana - !

An earlier post

What imagery does"b'nei Maron" evoke?

Are we to be compared to sheep being reviewed by the shepherd?
Are we better compared to a Ruler reviewing his loyal troops?

Are we to be "Bent over and subservient"?
"Erect and dignified"?

Here is the "more later":

Mishna RH 1:3 -
And on the 1st of Tishre all the comers of the world pass before Him Kivnei Maron

What does this term mean
The Bavli gives 3 explanations
The Yerushalmi 2 explanations.

The girsa as espoused by Hanoch Albeck is Kivnumeiron. This is related to the Latin
Numerion. This suggests a Legion of Soldiers. See also Danby ad .loc. and footnote 12. This is also supported by a passage in the Tosefta.

The common understanding based upon the more popular reads in the Bavli and Yerushalmi are like sheep under the shepherd's rod. [Maron is apparently a Semitic word meaning sheep/flock.]
What connotation is invoked by this metaphor? Are all of us helpless sheep under the protection of a pastor? How do we view ourselves?

On the other hand, what imagery does the concept of legions invoke? How do we NOW view ourselves? Do we see ourselves as loyal troopers in God's Legion?

The issue to me is one of dignity! The common, popular, albeit “source-text” challenged point of view, is that we should humble ourselves as sheep. Is this humbling or humiliating? What are the images of the Holocaust? Does not sheep invoke the image of passive victims?

Now soldiers in the Emperor's Legions are every bit as subject to massive slaughter as are sheep. Let's face it, the military is called upon to sacrifice humans just as often as sheep were sacrificed in days of yore. But THAT sacrifice invokes a DIGNIFIED image!

Meir Kahane was challenged just what did he mean by NEVER AGAIN? His retort was not that no further oppression or attacks could take place against Jews. That was impossible for Jews alone to prevent. What he sought to prevent was that Jews would NEVER AGAIN submit passively to oppression, that we would rise up and defend ourselves - much like our ancestors the Maccabbees did!

Now that God has revealed to us the original etymology by teaching us how this single word was in the time of the Mishnah and how it has been inadvertently distorted into 2 words, we should take this NEW lesson on the Old Torah to heart! We are now called upon to view ourselves as members of God's Legion and to abandon our self-imagery of the "sheep on the way to slaughter." Not only has history demanded such a paradigm shift in our thinking, but the newly revealed discoveries in text have confirmed that this has been God's desire all along, only we did not quite get HIS message!

Next Post on the Shape of the Shofar
Shanah Tova

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Levush on Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, and Hoshana Rabba

How did it come about that 
Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, and Hoshana Rabba
are ALL Days of Judgment?

The Levush addresses this very question. He gives a very insightful answer that I would like to share.

The Jewish calendar has a major Lunar component and a minor Solar component. Furthermore,when it comes to the flood of Noah, and perhaps OTHER pre-Sinai events the traditional solar 365 days make a full year

Let's say that in Year 1 [or is that Zero?] God created the Heaven and the earth on Tishre 1 What is the corresponding solar Date? Let's arbitrarily say September 30th.

In Year 2 Tishre 1 is the Lunar Rosh Hashana. let's say it is 10 days earlier and falls on Solar Sept. 20th. When is the SOLAR new year? Why it is again Sept. 30th. This is due to the usual loss of 11 days which has been rounded off to 10 days. Sept. 30th is Yom Kippur in year 2 and the Solar Rosh haShana

In Year 3 Tishre 1 is the Lunar Rosh Hashana. let's say it falls on Sept. 9th in the solar calendar. What then is Sept. 30th or Solar anniversary? Why, it is Hoshana Rabbah!

What about year 4? We get a 13th month and recycle the cycle.

Thus whilst 1 Tishre is ALWAYS the Lunar New Year, Yom Kippur and Hoshana Rabbah are pinch hit Solar New Years as needed. Thus, they also obtain the status as Days of Judgment!