Thoughts on Judaism

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Wave a WHAT over my head?

What on Earth is the source of this "custom" of kaparos with a white chicken? Obviously, the rationalists in the Sephardic world couldn't find it either, the Rashba at the head. He nodded to the custom as endorsed by gedolim, but he did not endorse it for his community. Later authorities said that it should be stopped, as well, but such an order never spread thoroughly.

One wonders at that point. The Sephardim would have known the kabalah behind it, if it was indeed kabala. It seems to have been a popular practice that found its way to popularity before the authorities got a handle on it. If you know the makor for this or any source in early kabalah, do tell.


  • אם יהיו חטאיכם כשנים כשלג ילבינו

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:56 AM  

  • Check my blog... I just posted on the background.

    By Blogger lamedzayin, at 9:57 AM  

  • Given that there were no chickens in the early middle east, I suspect that the chicken is a later substitution for the scape-goat. And possibly a borrowing or imitation of what the neighbors were doing.

    Chickens, for your information, originate in South East Asia, and did not become common or widespread until fairly late.

    By Blogger The back of the hill, at 10:53 PM  

  • Either that or a clever marketing scheme - much like posting a royal guard around the first crop of potatoes in France.

    By Blogger The back of the hill, at 10:39 PM  

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