This morning, against my better judgment, I participated in Kapparot, the pre-Yom Kippur ritual where you take a male or female chicken (according to your own sex) and by saying a special prayer, pass your sins onto the chicken. What happens to the chicken? If you guessed it becomes someone's dinner, you're right.
I say my better judgment because I hate dealing with live chickens. They smell, jump around, run away and obviously do not want to be there. Well, that makes two of us. And in my case, it made five of us. But my husband woke me up by phone at 6:30 am this morning to say there were tickets waiting for the whole family in the living room and the kapparot site closed at 10 am.
This after I told my husband yesterday that kapparot was too expensive for the whole family ($20 a person) and I would do the prayer at home with (less) money in an envelope, which is an option. In truth, I was leaning towards the money envelope because the final part of the prayer requires you to schlug or pass the chicken in a circle over your head three times.
My sons were fine with it, my daughter was squeamish, and I was downright disgusted. It's not that I'm a PETA person, and I'm totally okay with the chickens being slaughtered for the poor. Essentially, it comes down to dealing with everyone and everything in close quarters, with filth everywhere.
I blame it on my microbiology class. Not that I was keen on filth before, but I saw the higher spiritual purpose to kapparot. Now I just see chicken poop mixed in with a higher spiritual purpose. In my opinion, the problem is me.
As I head into this most auspicious holiday, I ask the Holy One to bless the world with peace, kindness, hope and love. Bring our righteous Moshiach. Remove the chicken poop from my eyes, and replace it with awe.