Its tradition on the morning before Yom Kippur to do Kapparot (expiation). Many do it with chickens. Here is how it is done with money .

1) Take $18, $36, $54 or some numerical equivalent of Chai, according to your means and hold it in your right hand.

2) Recite the following paragraph with fervor.

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 3) Recite this paragraph. Every time you say the words in red you swing the money in your right hand around your head.

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4) Repeat step (2) and (3) two more times.  

5) Take the money and put it in the tzedakah box. If you don't have a tzedakah box at home you can donate that amount at www.jewishthornhillwoods.com/donate

Wishing you a year of blessing and peace and may this substitute be your atonement and may you be sealed in the book of life.

 


 

In case you wanted to know about this ritual Kapparot.

Kapparot is a deep-seated custom for many. It dates back to the period of the Geonim – the period of Jewish geniuses stretching from the late-sixth to the early eleventh-century of the common era, in Babylon. Often explained to us as being originally based up a tradition of the Persians Jews, today in the west it is most commonly associated with Chassidic Jews. As it is said to be a tradition encouraged by the ARI z”l, it is commonly observed among the followers of kabbalistic mysticism in both the Ashkenazi and Sephardi communities.

According to the traditional custom, one takes a white chicken – a rooster for a man, a hen for a woman, and at least one of each gender bird for a pregnant woman. During the ritual the bird is swung three (3) cycles over the head. The bird is then ritually slaughtered, and the blood of the animal is covered over with dirt as a solemn and rare mitzvah using the brachia (“Baruch... al kisui madam be'afar”). Covered over as a sign of respect, commanded by Torah. (Leviticus 17:13)

This ritual brings on shock and awe in the most unnerving fashion. And that is what it's designed to do. To remind people of the frailty of life, of how mortal we are. And reminding us how sin can lead to our untimely death. 

What kappa rot is not, it is not an easy way to unload our sins. It is not a short-cut to atonement, as our rabbis remind us. It is a sobering reminder, of the specter of sin and death in our lives. But true atonement is achieved through t'shuvah – sincere repentance; with prayer and fasting, with mitzvoth and good deeds. (see Isaiah ach. 1) This act is a dramatic reminder of our need to do t'shuvah, and a way of engaging a person in acts of loving-kindness  before Yom Kippur. Following the custom, one is to prepare the bird and give it to the poor of the community. In this act, also alleviating need among those within the community, providing charitable meals during this sacred season. 

However, over time as people began to centrally urbanize, it became much less possible for many communities to sustain this tradition with chickens; getting so many live and appropriate birds was not always possible. And furthermore, rushing to perform so many of these kosher slaughters before the holiday often left a lot of problems with improper attention being paid to shechitah – to proper kosher slaughtering practices. For this reason many communities began to use money in place of the birds. Money which could be given to the poor to fulfill this mitzvah. 

More and more people today have begun to use money. And many people, because of reasons of sensitivity or personal ethics, have begun to use money in place of chickens. To focus on the bright side of tzedakah, as opposed to the carnality of slaughter.

But some might say, how does this connect us to old tradition? How can this bring us remembrance of mortality? Why should we use money instead? And we can even ask, what additional and greater benefit is to perform kappa rot by this method?

It is because such an act as this is one of loving-kindness, an act which is said to be superior to even the tzedakah (charity) itself.