At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Friday, September 29, 2006


The custom on the day before Yom Kippur of atoning, with a substitute - in this case, the scapegoat is a chicken.

[Scapegoating in a religious context is best described in Vayikra (Leviticus) chapter 16.]

Shlugn kapores = 'Whacking atonements': the waving of a live chicken (or its monetary equivalent) three times over one's head, while chanting: "zeh khalefosi, zeh tamorosi, zeh kaperosi. Zeh hotarnegol yelekh le misoh, va'ani elekh le chayim tovim arukim ve shalom" ('This is my substitute, this is my commutation, this is my atonement. This rooster will go to death, and I will go to a life both long and peaceful').

[Chickens are notoriously loose in the bowel department - expect to feel sincere regret after doing this.]

The father of the family first does this for himself, and once he has 'atoned', and is newly 'guilt-free', he can do it for all other members of the household, using a chicken of the same gender as the person underneath. For a pregnant woman one uses two birds, one of each gender, for both the woman and the unborn child in the womb.

I recommend that pregnant women wear an old wig (an alte farshlepte sheitel) they didn't much care about anyway on this day. Or maybe borrow one from their mekhutenista ('di alte kokhlefflerin').

[Two panicked chickens, with their respective bowels. You may be much surprised.]

The birds are then sent to be slaughtered, and the flesh or its monetary equivalent given to the poor.

[To be really machmir, one should wave a goat instead. Trust me, you will feel different this year if you do.]

Note that many people nowadays think of using the live chickens as an irrational and superstitious custom, barbaric even, and quite probably cruel to the chicken. I'm not voicing any judgement until I see you do it. After that I'll be plenty judgmental. I'm only interested in your spiritual welfare.



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