Thursday, September 28

Awaiting death

Yefet street, fairly close to the Ba'al Shem Tov junction a little slaughterhouse sprung up on the street opposite the well-known ""Hinnawi" butchery over the last few days. A Hebrew sign simply reads "Kaparot".
On the sidewalk a large truck unloads crates of chickens, packed tightly together, one on top of the other.
A queue of elderly people and some mothers with small children wait patiently on the side walk. Each of them selects a chicken and pays the young man attending the ever-growing row of people.
The shohet, (kosher butcher) murmurs a blessing while holding the struggling chicken above the head of the first person in line, who repeats the blessing.
The chicken is then turned upside down and its head sort of bent backwards, while the butcher thoroughly checks its neck feathers and then, with one quick strike of his knife, cuts through the main artery and drops the still moving chicken into a specially prepared bucket.

Cleaned of his (or her) sins, the first person in line thanks the shohet and continues with shopping, it's Yom Kippur after all, in another few days and one needs to make preparations.
The day on which we ask for forgiveness. Our sins sent away together with the chicken's life, a reminder of far away, biblical times, when there still was a temple.

In a few months it will be Id ElAdha, sheep will be slaughtered on Jaffa's streets for the same purpose more or less.
A reminder of ancient times, age old rituals, something raw and almost primitive (in the true sense of that word) , but then, i am a vegetarian.

1 comment:

deb said...

G'mar tov, Yudi. You can use a credit card instead of a chicken!