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Kapparot (Hebrew: כפרות‎, Ashkenazi transliteration: Kapporois, Kappores) is a customary atonement ritual practiced by some Jews on the eve of Yom Kippur. This is a practice in which a chicken or money is waved over a person's head and the chicken is then slaughtered in accordance with halachic rules.

Etymology

Lithograph of Kapparot, late 19th/early 20th century

Kapparah (כפרה), the singular of kapparot, means 'atonement' and comes from the Hebrew root k-p-r, which means 'to atone'.[1]

Practice

The Shochet with Rooster by Israel Tsvaygenbaum, 1997

On the afternoon before Yom Kippur, one prepares an item to be donated to the poor for consumption at the pre-Yom Kippur meal,[2] recites the two biblical passages of Psalms 107:17–20 and Job 33:23–24, and then swings the prepared charitable donation over one's head three times while reciting a short prayer three times.

Using a rooster

A vendor at Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem sells roosters for kapparot before Yom Kippur.

In one variant of the practice of kapparot, the item to be donated to charity is a rooster. In this case, the rooster would be swung overhead while still alive. After the kapparot ritual is concluded, the rooster would be treated as a normal kosher poultry product, i.e., it would be slaughtered according to the laws of shechita. It would then be given to charity for consumption at the pre-Yom Kippur meal. In modern times, this variant of the ritual is performed with a rooster for men and a hen for women.

In this case, the prayer recited translates as:

This is my exchange, this is my substitute,

Kapparah (כפרה), the singular of kapparot, means 'atonement' and comes from the Hebrew root k-p-r, which means 'to atone'.[1]

Practice

The Shochet with Rooster by Israel Tsvaygenbaum, 1997

On the afternoon before Yom Kippur, one prepares an item to be donated to the poor for consumption at the pre-Yom Kippur meal,[2] recites the two biblical passages of Psalms 107:17–20 and Job 33:23–24, and then swings the prepared charitable donation over one's head three times while reciting a short prayer three times.

Using a rooster

A vendor at Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem sells roosters

On the afternoon before Yom Kippur, one prepares an item to be donated to the poor for consumption at the pre-Yom Kippur meal,[2] recites the two biblical passages of Psalms 107:17–20 and Job 33:23–24, and then swings the prepared charitable donation over one's head three times while reciting a short prayer three times.

Using a rooster

rooster. In this case, the rooster would be swung overhead while still alive. After the kapparot ritual is concluded, the rooster would be treated as a normal kosher poultry product, i.e., it would be slaughtered according to the laws of shechita. It would then be given to charity for consumption at the pre-Yom Kippur meal. In modern times, this variant of the ritual is performed with a rooster for men and a hen for women.

In this case, the prayer recited translates as:

This is my exchange, this is my substitute, this is my atonement. This rooster (hen) will go to its death, while I will enter and proceed to a good long life and to peace.[3]

Using money

In a second variant of the practice of kapparot, a bag of money is swung around the head and then given to charity.[4]

In this case, the prayer recited translates as:

This is my exchange, this is my substitute, this is my atonement. This money will go to charity, while I will enter and proceed to a good long life and to peace.In this case, the prayer recited translates as:

This is my exchange, this is my substitute, this is my atonement. This rooster (hen) will go to its death, while I will enter and proceed to a good long life and to peace.[3]

Using money