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Agudath Israel’s Kol Koreh On Kapparos

Agudath Israel has reissued the following Kol Koreh regarding Kapparos first issued seven years ago, signed by 27 rabbanim:

As the y’mei ho’rachamim ve’hadin rapidly approach, and as Jews will soon be fulfilling the minhag of kapporos during the Aseres Yimei Teshuvah, we wish to emphasize the need for all public kapporos centers to be under the exacting hashgachah of a competent rav hamachshir to ensure that all aspects of this “minhag vasikin” (Rama, Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 605) are done properly in accordance with halacha.

Halachic authorities have long pointed out the need for special care to be taken during the kapporos 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 Mishnah 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 kapporos process, including such matters as health and safety concerns (both those that concern the wellbeing 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 kapporos by one individual should not be reused for kapporos 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 kapporos centers and with mashgichim to implement proper standards, and to oversee the centers to ensure that nothing improper transpires in the kapporos process.

We therefore call upon the entire tzibbur to patronize only those kapporos 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 halacha, may we all be zocheh to kapporas 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.

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Posted by on September 21, 2012. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to Agudath Israel’s Kol Koreh On Kapparos

  1. Rina Deych, RN

    September 22, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    Tsa’ar ba’alei chaim, our mandate not to cause harm to animals and to treat them kindly is being violated, as is done every year for the minhag of Kapparot / Kaporos. This practice, not mandated in the Talmud or Torah, arose in the Middle Ages, and was written down in Shulchan Aruch. From the beginning, many great sages spoke out against it, calling it foolish superstition, and alleging it was stolen from Pagan rituals. My grandfather, a kosher butcher (one of the first in Boro Park in the 1920s), and his father, a shochet, were both opposed to the use of chickens in this ritual. It’s time for us to transcend this cruel, archaic minhag that violates one of the most basic tenets in our Torah. L’Shana Tova, Rina Deych, RN