To all our Jewish brethren, Hashem’s blessings upon you!
As the yemei ha’rachamim v’hadin rapidly approach, and as Jews will soon be fulfilling the minhag of kapparos during the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, we wish to emphasize the need for all public kapparos centers to be under the exacting hashgachah of a competent rav ha’machshir to ensure that all aspects of this “minhag vasikin” (Rema, Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 605) are done properly in accordance with halachah.
Halachic authorities have long pointed out the need for special care to be taken during the kapparos process that the chickens be slaughtered and processed properly, especially on erev Yom Kippur, when many shochtim spend long hours shechting large volumes of chickens (as discussed in Mishneh Berurah, ibid, se’if koton beis). A proper hashgachah will oversee all aspects of kashrus throughout the entire process, including the proper handling of the chickens prior to shechitah so as to avoid fractures or other defects that would render the chickens treif; the validity of the shechitah itself, including the necessary periodic checking of the knife used for shechitah; the post-shechitah internal bedikah; and the proper kashering of the chickens (soaking, salting, and rinsing).
In addition to these kashrus matters, the hashgachah will also ensure that all other relevant halachos are carefully adhered to throughout the kapparos process, including such matters as health and safety concerns (both those that concern the well-being of those who handle the chickens, as well as those that concern the safety of the food); scrupulous compliance with the Torah’s laws of tza’ar ba’alei chayim throughout the entire process of storing, transporting, and handling the chickens, which should be done by responsible adults, not children; ensuring that a live chicken that has already been used for kapparos by one individual should not be reused for kapparos by another individual; and sensitivity to tzniyus concerns, to avoid improper mingling to the extent possible.
We have enlisted the assistance of a group of distinguished local rabbanim to work together with the proprietors and sponsors of kapparos centers and with mashgichim to implement proper standards, and to oversee the centers to ensure that nothing improper transpires in the kapparos process.
We therefore call upon the entire tzibbur to patronize only those kapparos centers that are under the exacting hashgachah of expert rabbanim. In the z’chus of carrying out this minhag vasikin properly, in full compliance with halachah, may we all be zocheh to kapparas avonos, and to be inscribed in the Book of the Righteous for a good and blessed year.
To this we have placed our signatures, for the benefit of the community, these final days of Chodesh Elul 5767. v