Monday, September 2, 2013

A Taste of Yiddish 2.1

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this week's expressions
דער מענטש זינדיקט און דער האָן ווערט די כפרה*

der mentsh zindikt un der hon vert di kapore*

this expression actually means
man sins and the rooster is the scapegoat (kapore)*

Hebrew translation
האדם חוטא והתרנגול הוא הכפרה

ער קוקט אויף מיר ווי אַ האָן אין בּני אדם

er kukt af mir vi a hon in b'ney odom

in English
he is staring at me like a rooster staring at the words “B'nei Adam” (prayerbook)
(the prayer said by kaporos) like a person who has no clue what you're talking about

Hebrew translation
למה אתה מסתכל עלי כמו שתרנגול מסתכל בתוך הסידור כשאומרים "בני אדם"

Kapores is a custom carried out before Yom Kippur. Some do it in the days preceding Yom Kippur, others on the evening beforehand or in the early morning of the day preceding the Holy Day. It is observed by both men and women. Each man takes a live rooster, and each woman takes a hen. Preferably the chicken should be white. Why? Because in Isaiah it says. "And if your sins be like scarlet, they shall become as white as snow."
Various selections are recited from Psalms and from the Book of Job. Prayers are also recited. The chicken, which is alive, is taken in the right hand and moved in a circular motion around the head three times. While holding the bird, the incantation is said, "This is my substitute, my vicarious offering, my atonement. This chicken shall meet its death, but I shall find a long and pleasant life of peace."
The custom was that the chicken was then slaughtered and distributed to the poor.
The Mystical Origins
The origins of kapores are unclear. The influence of Kabbalah gave the custom much of its mystical aura. There is some opinion that kapores is related to the use of a scapegoat in Temple times on which the High Priest(Kohen Gadol) placed the sins of the Children of Israel before sending the goat out to its death.
The reality is that there is no magic in kapores which transfers a person's sins to the chicken. Even in the days of the Temple, sins were not magically transferred to an animal. The entire purpose of kapores is to create an experience that inspires a person to teshuvah , that is to return to G-d and to repent. All the sacrifices -- and chickens -- in the world will not result in forgiveness, unless teshuvah takes place.


  1. זייער גוט....איך בין פון ארגענטינא

  2. יישר כוחכם! איך ווונטש אייך ש גמר חתימה טובה און א גוט קוויטל