Thoughts on Judaism

Thursday, September 06, 2012

On Kaparot

srael: Kaporos Under Fire Earlier than Usual

(Tuesday, September 4th, 2012)
This year’s anti-kaporos campaign in Israel appears to have begun earlier than usual, well before Rosh Hashanah. There are Rabbis who feel that the minhag should not be done with a chicken, citing shechitah and other concerns, and among those is Rabbi Avi Zarki, the Rav of N. Tel Aviv, known in Israel as the “Rabbi of the Celebrities”, referring to the elite wealthy northern Tel Aviv population. He feels that the minhag with chickens is צער בעלי חיים and therefore, it should be avoided.
Kikar Shabbat interviewed the rabbi, who is quoted as saying that “today, the minhag is mamosh avoda zara”. He adds that he basis his opinion on rulings of gedolei yisrael, citing the Rashba, Ramban, and the Beis Yosef, who wrote מה שנהגו ליקח תרנגול לזכר ותרנגולת לנקבה יש בזה משום דרכי האמורי
Rav Zarki quotes the Mechaber, as well as the others in support of his opinion. “People believe they can commit aveiros during the year and on erev Yom Kippur take a chicken and swing it around over their heads and they are done. This is nonsense”.
“In accordance with Halacha, it is preferable to give money to fulfill the mitzvah. There is a Halachic problem with the shechitah due to the pressure, the time element, and the lack of time to properly inspect the knife. Perhaps a damaged knife is used for the shechitah. In addition, many of the chickens die before the shechitah.
“There is also the בצער בעלי חיים issue, and for this there is no mechila. The birds are pushed and shoved into the cages and they are too crowded. They are literally stuffed in, often without any food or water”.
He concludes that based on his information; there has been a steady decline in the minhag over recent years.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Chad Gadya tune

Most Jews are familiar with the music for chad gadya, a song sung at the end of the Passover seder.  After having seen the classic movie Moby Dick, I now wonder if the tune was of very recent origin.  The scene depicts 1841.  The song is a pub song, sung by the whalers about a courtesan in Amsterdam.  The words they sing are:

In Amsterdam, there lived a maid
Mark well what I do say
In Amsterdam, there lived a maid
who was the mistress of her trade
I'll go no more a-roving with you fair maid

and OMG, this is from about 7 minutes into the iconic film.

That tune sounds awfully familiar and I did not hang around pubs much in 1841.