Fowl moves


There is no end to the weirdness of religious practices. It looks like animal sacrifices to the gods, a practice that one would have thought had gone extinct, are still seen as a means of removing one’s sins. I recently became aware of this religious ritual practiced by Orthodox Jews known as ‘kaporot’ that seems like it is out of a comedy sketch.

Kaporot is performed in the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement and the most holy day of the year to many Jews. In the ritual, men, women and children swing a white chicken β€” a sign of purity β€” above their heads three times as they pray for their sins to be transferred to the chicken.

Then the chicken is slaughtered in a kosher manner by slitting its throat. The meat β€” or the monetary equivalent β€” is donated to the poor.

I wonder if the children are present when the chicken’s throat is cut.

There is no mention of whether they do the Chicken Dance during the ritual.

It is tempting to think that there really are gods for each religion and that they are all pranksters competing to see who can make their followers do the most absurd things in their efforts to curry favor with them, and then slapping their thighs and laughing uproariously at the results. The plot of the film The Brand New Testament really does seem much more likely to be a true description of these gods’ intentions than what is described in any of the official religion stories.

Comments

  1. Rob Grigjanis says

    It is tempting to think that there really are gods for each religion and that they are all pranksters competing to see who can make their followers do the most absurd things…

    Funny that, coming from a cricket enthusiast πŸ˜‰

    I suppose there are people who find association football absurd, but they’re just poor benighted fools.

  2. lanir says

    That might be funny if it didn’t make me think of all the subtle ways that encourages someone to drop their baggage on someone else. Because let’s be realistic, if this is a thought process that works for you, I’d be very surprised if I didn’t see echoes of it in how you interact with other people.

  3. hyphenman says

    Mano,

    There are two other similar Jewish practices: the ritual of the scapegoat, Leviticus 16:1-34 (no longer practiced to the best of my knowledge) and the Tashlich, Micah 7:19, the casting of bread on the waters (still very much alive and practiced by most temple-going Jews of all denominations.)

    Cheers,

    Jeff Hess
    Have Coffee Will Write

  4. says

    i used to think it’d be funny to come up with an absurd religion as performance art, with goofy doctrines and silly rituals. But then I saw L Ron Hubbard had beaten me to it. And, well, all the others.

  5. Johnny Vector says

    Have you read Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett? It’s got a lot of that sort of thing. I suspect you’d enjoy it.

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