Video: Zionist Rabbi Joins Animal Rights Group’s Campaign Against Kapparos


harav-shlomo-aviner_a[Video below.] Ahead of Yom Kippur, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Israel last week launched its annual information campaign against kapparos with chickens. That campaign just received a boost from an unexpected source, as one of religious Zionism’s most influential rabbis joined the call against the practice of kapparos with chickens.

Shlomo Aviner, head of Yerushalayim’s Ateret Yeshiva and rabbi of the settlement of Beit El, has spoken out in the past against the contentious rite. This time, however, he acceded to the SPCA’s request and issued a religious ruling that, rather than slaughtering an animal, giving money to the poor is a better method of doing kapparos.

“Because this is not a binding obligation but a custom, in light of problems related to kashrut and the suffering of animals, and given the edicts of the aforementioned rabbis, a recommendation must be made to favor performing kaparot through money, by performing the great mitzvah of providing for the needy,” Aviner wrote, citing religious decrees by rabbinical authorities from various periods throughout Jewish history.

Click below to watch remarks from Rabbi Aviner:

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{Haaretz/ Israel}


  1. Why are you making such sensationalistic headlines, like using the word Shockingly and labelling him ‘Zionist Rabbi’? He is a Rabbi, anyone who watches the video can see what kind of yarmulka he wears.

    He brings that Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach changed to do it on money. How about some derech eretz, especially in ???? ??? ??????

  2. In this, he joins, among others, the Rashb”a, the Mechaber, and the Aruch Hashulchan, all of whom wrote against the practice of Kapparot. And why do you call him “Zionist Rabbi” instead of “Rav Aviner” in the headline?

  3. I heard directly from HoRav Moshe Heinemann, SHLIT”A, that most people today do not know how to properly handle a live chicken, and as a result cause much tzaar baalei chaim, and also often cause injuries to the chickens that render them treifos. So Rabbi Aviner’s statement is not shocking at all.

  4. Neither tzar balei chayim, nor chillul hashem
    is part of the minhag of kapporos.
    Ergo the chillulie Hashem R”L that was caused in Uman was NOT what Rabainu Nachman had in mind.
    Ergo Rav Kook ZTZ”L did NOT have in mind this self hating Jew, an oker Yisroel.
    All we have to do is what’s in the Books, not our inverted minds.
    PS – I once transported a two-hour-old child (yes, you read that right) to the hospital to get him out of of the clutches of his deranged father, who was sure to cause the baby brain damage (best-case scenario). Two months later I met him at kapporos. He was commenting to me about how the minhag was ‘out of whack’ & an issur deoraisa of tzar ba’alei chayim.
    Yup, out of whack.

  5. It is brought down in shulchan aruch that we should use chickens if ossible. As log as it is done in a way that does not hurt the chicken why asser it?

  6. He suggests, he favors….

    “rather than slaughtering an animal, giving money to the poor is a better method of doing kapparos”.

    Reb Moshe’s zt”l also favored using money. Never saw a helighe family use a chicken for kapparos from 1950 till 1990. This new minhag is among others that have infilitrated the Torah community since the 1990s. Thank you, Rav Aviner for saying what many rabbanim think and agree with.

    BTW what is a Zionist rabbi? One who lives in Zion, one who prays for Zion, one who davens for Kavod Shamayin in Zion….

  7. To All of your Readers,

    The term Zionist is a badge of honor. It denotes a
    person who supports a Jewish national State in the Land of Israel. This is an honor. Too bad more of you will not wear it.

  8. Rashi mentions a custom mentioned by the Geonim that “twenty two or fifteen days” before Rosh Hashono people would take baskets – one for each child – and plant legumes and the like, and before Rosh Hashono would wave them around their heads and say, “This should be instead of this [person], and it should be my exchange, and it should be my substitute.” The baskets would then be thrown into the river. In this Rashi we find the concept of saving oneself from a harsh Heavenly decree by it being effected on another object.

    The Maharal writes that the Gemoro implies the same. The Gemoro brings the story of Rabbi Akiva who was travelling with a donkey, and rooster and a candle. Upon being refused entry to a certain city, Rabbi Akiva had no choice but to sleep overnight in the woods outside the city. During the night a lion killed the donkey, a cat devoured the rooster, and a wind extinguished the candle. The next morning he learned that the city had been attacked by murderous thieves and he had been miraculously saved. The Maharal explains that the same terrible fate that the townspeople had suffered, was to befall Rabbi Akiva as well. However, he was substituted by his donkey (representing his physical body), his rooster (instead of his soul) and the candle (instead of his intellect). The Maharal concludes that from this Gemoro we have an “absolute proof to take a chicken for a kaporo for the soul on erev Yom Kippur.”

    The Remo brings this custom in Shulchon Oruch and writes that it is a custom of pious people and should not be disregarded.

    In addition to the aforementioned dimension of kaporos being a “substitute” for the individual (as the Mishna Berura writes that the individual should imagine that all that is transpiring to the chicken should in fact have happened to him), there is another reason which is brought down in Eliya Rabo, that the kaporos is an atonement for the sins of the person. This being the case, it is likened to an obligatory sacrifice that each individual has to bring. (The halachic implications of these opinions will later be discussed.)

    However the Kitzur Shulchon Oruch writes that the individual should not think that the chicken is literally his atonement. It should merely serve as a reminder that all of these things should have happened to him, thus arousing him to repent fully.

    It is obvious from the authorities that the main part of the custom of kaporos is the slaughtering of the chicken. Especially considering the abovementioned objective of kaporos, that the individual realise that everything happening to the chicken should have happened to him.

    Furthermore one of the criterion mentioned with regards to kaporos is that it should be conducted in the early morning. Both these points are evident in the words of the authorities.

    In Shulchan Aruch the mechaber writes that this which they are accustomed to do kaporos on the eve of Yom Kippur to slaughter a chicken etc. Similarly in the Mogen Avrohom in the name of the AriZal and the Shalo.

  9. The Rosh (Yoma 8:23), the Mordechai (at the beginning of his notes to Masechet Yoma), and the Tur (Orach Chaim 605) record this practice (mentioned in the aforementioned Rashi on Shabbos 81b) with approval. They, however, mention that the usual practice is to take a chicken and slaughter it. They also note that the ritual is performed on Erev Yom Kippur. The Rosh explains that the Gemara sometimes refers to a chicken as a Gever (see Yoma 20b), which also means man. Thus, a chicken is an appropriate substitute for man. He also offers a pragmatic explanation: that chickens are readily available and less expensive than larger animals such as a ram.

    The Chayei Adam (144:4) and Mishna Berura (605:2) explain that the idea of Kapparos is modeled after the idea of a Korban, as explained by the Ramban (Vayikra 1:9). The Ramban writes that fundamentally the individual who sinned deserves to have his life taken as punishment for violating Hashem’s Law. However, Hashem in His mercy permits us to substitute an animal. When presenting a Korban, one should feel that his blood deserves to be spilled and that his body deserves to be burned, had it not been for Hashem’s merciful permission to offer a Korban as a substitute. Thus, offering a Korban constitutes a reenactment of Akeidas Yitzchak. Similarly, the Chayei Adam and Mishna Berura write that during the Kapparos ritual, one should contemplate that one deserves to be slaughtered just as the Kapparos chicken is slaughtered and that the chicken is a substitute. See Kaf Hachaim (605:10) for other explanations for Kapparos.

    The Rashba does acknowledge that all of the Ashkenazic rabbis of his time practiced Kapparos and that the practice is recorded in the writings of Rav Hai Gaon. The Rama notes that this practice is recorded as early as the Geonic period and is the accepted practice in all Ashkenazic communities. The Rama regards the practice as a Minhag Vasikin, a venerated practice that one must not neglect. The practice recorded in the Rama is to slaughter a chicken for every family member.

    The Ben Ish Chai (Parshas Vayelech 2), Kaf Hachaim (605:8), and Rav Ovadia Yosef (Teshuvot Yechaveh Daat 2:71) record that Sephardic Jews have adopted this custom despite the opposition of Rav Yosef Karo, the author of the Shulchan Aruch. An explanation for this change is that the Ari zt”l enthusiastically embraced this practice (as noted by the Magen Avraham 605:1) based on his Kabbalistic approach. The Ari zt”l has an enormous impact on Sephardic practice in a wide variety of areas.

    The Mishna Berura cites the Pri Megadim who rules that Kapparos may be performed throughout the Aseres Yemai Teshuva. Indeed, Rashi records that this ritual is performed on Erev Rosh Hashanah. Accordingly, the Mishna Berura suggests that Kapparot be performed a day or two before Erev Yom Kippur to relieve the stress on the Shochtim. Rav Ovadia Yosef writes that Kapparos may be performed throughout the entire Aseres Yemai Teshuva.

  10. #6, Please cite siff and halacha in Shulchan Aruch that permits kapporos with a live chicken. The Mechaber calls kapporos “darchei Emori”. That doesn’t sound like an endorsement to me.

  11. #10 Sheldon. The term zionist is not a badge of honor rather it is a badge of kefirah. Let all the zionists reading this attack me it still does not change the facts. I will not bother to present the facts because all who will question this statement have allready made up their minds.

  12. Mr. 2 cents,

    If you wont talk aout facts, then I will. Zionists work with sweat, blood and tears to build the Jewish State of Israel. Yes we do not believe in a miraculous geulah. We believe in one that requires Hishtadlut.

  13. To the editors,

    Why is it OK to post a remark that calls Zionists such as myself as Kofrim, Yet my responce is not deemed worthy of posting? If the gloves are off then let it go and see where it takes us.
    Secondly, why do you not post my remarks of the Bigdey Kehuna Status of the IDF uniform?
    I am not telling you what to believe but if you want intelligent debate and discussion then post it. There is nothing derogatry here.