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Money for the Merciful

Written by PETA | September 23, 2009

With Yom Kippur just around the corner, we’d like to urge all our Jewish readers to speak out against the killing of chickens for kapporos.

Kapporos is a sacrificial ritual that takes place on the eve of Yom Kippur. This ritual is sometimes performed by swinging a live chicken around the head three times and then slaughtering the terrified, abused bird. In Brooklyn alone, 50,000 chickens are killed every year during kapporos ceremonies.

Rabbi Joseph Karo, who composed the Shulchan Aruch (an important codification of Jewish law), wrote that killing an animal for kapporos is “a foolish custom.”




Using money instead of live chickens to perform the kapporos ritual is an acceptable substitute for outdated chicken sacrifices, which all compassionate Jews should condemn.

After all, you can’t expect forgiveness and mercy when you have blood on your hands.

Written by Shawna Flavell

Commenting is closed.
  • fakewood says:

    what makes killing a chicken wrong?

  • Jared says:

    Rev. Schramm I guess I should have made my question a bit more rhetorical… as it was supposed to come across as more of a sarcastic remark. As ‘Elphaba’ stated the Bible and many other religious texts were not only inspired by the idea of ‘God’ but they were also written by man… and rewritten and translated and edited and ripped apart and pieced together throughout many more years… so I think it may be fair to say that much of the text is not only figurative but meant to be interpreted. I respect your dedication to your religion but in my opinion and with my awareness and knowledge I would not follow a religion where a ‘Godfigure’ requests or demands the killing of an innocent creature in it’s honor. I use terms such as ‘it’ and ‘Godfigure’ because I am not a big fan of religion… I used ‘He or She’ because not every religion has a masculine Godfigure… and some of those religions with the ‘SheGod’ request animal sacrifices as well. But… yes you would be correct using your interpretation of the Bible… again though… the question was more rhetorical.

  • Saucy says:

    God did not COMMAND people to kill for any reason and anyone who believes that is clearly confused. Just as the Israelites were confused about sacrifice and shed blood. They got it wrong.

  • Elphaba says:

    All due respect Rev. the Bible and other religious texts may have been inspired by God but they were recorded and edited ad nauseum by man who we all know has a penchant for stretching the truth. I believe in a loving merciful creator but I think it’s fair for those of us who aren’t married to the word to take the details with a grain of salt.

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    Jared have you ever read the Bible the Old Testament in particular? Among the first five books there are instructions on worship at the temple issued by God. And God tells the Hebrews which animals are to be sacrificed as well as the reason and the method. So you ask what “higher power” would ask that HIS not HER creations to be abused and killed? God. And HE did not ask he commanded. Now later on Jesus does tell his followers that God is tired of all the burnt offerings of bulls and lambs and everything else because people by that time were doing it out of habit and it was time for a change. I don’t agree with killing anything for a sacrifice but you asked which “higher power” would command that. Now you know.

  • Brien Comerford says:

    There are many humane vegetarians in Israel including the leader of the moderate Kadima Political partyMs. Tzipi Livni.

  • Jared says:

    PetaFiles… that is way too funny. I wonder why I never noticed that! In my opinion many traditions are purposeless and the beliefs behind the traditions are typically outdated or proven false. I hope that anybody of any faith can see beyond their traditions and witness the pain and suffering they can sometimes cause… and put an end to the abuse that they see. What ‘higher power’ would ask for his or her creations to be abused and killed and why would he or she condemn those that attempt to end the suffering? Good should always outweigh evil.

  • jimmy says:

    You guys David is a troll. You don’t feed trolls especially when they ask about something to be funny. And yeah lots of people are against peta’s ethical suggestions because the old ways are “tradition”. It’s a very hard thing to argue with but if a rabbi says that killing chickens this way is foolish then they should listen to him.

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    David The website looks great to firsttime users which all of us at one time were. There are also reams of information on this multifaceted site to assist the dedicated animal defender. By the way “PETA” is pronounced with a long “e” and a “t.”

  • Michele says:

    David or whatever your real name is do you think maybe just maybe it’s supposed to mean “PETA lover”? since phile means to love just like a “bibliophile” is a book lover Find something useful to do with your time maybe actually learn a thing or two about protecting animals.

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    I once read a short story written by a Jewish author named Scholom Alachaim I probably spelled the name wrong called “The White Bird.” In the story the mother of a family who had come to the United States and so completely assimiliated that they had dropped all of their traditions tries to find an unblemished white chicken for this ceremony to atone for the sins of her family. How much better to give a little money to help others than to kill an innocent animal to achieve this. Happy High Holidays to all of our Jewish friends.

  • David says:

    I am curious. Have you ever considered how your website looks to first time users? “The PETA Files”. Really?

  • Renfield says:

    Some faiths are a tough nut to crack when it comes to introducing modern ethics. I hope they can understand that we don’t live in the past anymore we have healthy food ready every hour of every day and materials like nylon which are much better and more durable than leather or silk. Citydwelling humans aren’t in a struggle to survive anymore. It’s time to let go. While we’re at it we should ask them to stop wearing shtreimels made from real fur too.