Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Benedict's Elder Brothers and their Voodoo Ritual

Ultra-Orthodox Jews performing the "kapparot."

The ancient [kapparot] ceremony involves swinging a live chicken overhead in a ritual transference of the person's sins in preparation for the day of atonement. It may be performed anytime between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. ("Court rules 'kapparot' ritual violates animal slaughter laws," Amiram Cohen and Yair Ettinger, Haaretz, September 18, 2007)

"An animal used as a sort of vicarious sacrifice on the day previous to the Day of Atonement. As a rule, a cock is taken by a male, and a hen by a female person, and after the recitation of Ps. cvii. 17-20 and Job xxxiii. 23-24 the fowl is swung around the head three times while the right hand is put upon the animal's head. At the same time the following is thrice said in Hebrew: "This be my substitute, my vicarious offering, my atonement. This cock [or hen] shall meet death, but I shall find a long and pleasant life of peace!" After this the animal is slaughtered and given to the poor, or, what is deemed better, is eaten by the owners while the value of it is given to the poor." (Jewish Encyclopedia, "kapparah")

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