- Posted October 11, 2013 by
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Kapparot (Hebrew:כפרות, Ashkenazi pronunciation,Kapporois,Kappores) is a Jewish ritual practiced by some Jews on the eve of Yom Kippur. The person swings a live chicken or a bundle of coins over one's head three times, symbolically transferring one's sins to the chicken or coins. The chicken is then slaughtered and donated to the poor for consumption at the pre-fast meal. (from Wikipedia)
If a chicken is unavailable, one may substitute another kosher fowl . Some use a kosher live fish; others perform the entire rite with money, and then giving the money – at least the value of a chicken – to charity.
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.
A male takes a rooster; a female uses a hen. Ideally every individual should use their own chicken. If, however, this is cost prohibitive, one fowl can be used for several individuals. So an entire family can do kaparot with two chickens—one rooster for all the males and one hen for all the females.
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).
Even the smallest of children are traditionally brought to kaparot, and one of their parents waves the chicken over the child's head, while saying, "This is your exchange, this is your substitute, this is your expiation..."