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