Jewish Kapparot ritual
Practitioners of the Kapparot ritual have become the target of
complaints by some rabbis and animal welfare organizations because it
involves the slaughtering of a chicken to depict the transfer of divine
punishment to the soul of the chicken.
Despite the fact the many Jews have substituted the chicken with a
piece of pottery that is then smashed or money that goes to charity,
some Jews fail to acknowledge the scapegoating violence involved in the
ritual and the lack of mercy and compassion it shows.
Additionally, it’s not just the ritual what is inherently cruel, but
the way chickens are handled and transported to markets before the
ritual. People who have witnessed this ritual believe that children who
are exposed to this custom either become cruel adults or are
traumatized. A board member of the Jerusalem Society for the Prevention
of Cruelty to Animals believes that “It does not make sense that we are
asking to purify ourselves on Yom Kippur through the slaughter of a
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A common practice throughout the ages has been the sacrifice of
innocent victims for the atonement of sinners. While this goes on mostly
unnoticed in our daily lives, through thoughts and deeds, the actual
sacrifice of an innocent animal to symbolize atonement is simply
barbaric. What God requests from us is not the victimization of innocent
ones, but to extend our love and compassion to all of God’s creatures.
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