Handle with Care

By A.S.Y. for Anash.org

Yom Kippur is upon us; our minds are filled with thoughts of teshuva, pondering concepts in Torah and chassidus about what it means to return to Hashem.

Over the next 24 hours, Yidden all over the world will be doing many things to prepare for this holy day- lekach, immersing in the mikva, the mitzvah of the day- eating- and of course, kaparos.

In recent years, animal rights protesters have been present at many kaparos sites, and have sounded the alarm across multiple media forums. It can be unpleasant, being confronted while trying to perform a ritual that has been part of Jewish life for centuries. In truth, we know the acts of kaparos and shechting the chickens are not cruel in and of themselves; however, great care must be taken to ensure the comfort of the chickens throughout the process.

There are many mitzvos in the Torah that are solely about taking an animals’ needs and comfort into consideration. In some cases, we must be willing to undergo discomfort or inconvenience in order to relieve an animal of its pain. Surely, kaparos is no exception!

When watching videos or looking at pictures of the Rebbe after kaparos, one can observe the Rebbe holding the chicken carefully, with two hands, in a way that does not cause pain. Surely, we can take a few extra seconds to make sure we are doing the same!

We may not appease the animal rights protesters; we will, however, be fulfilling the will of our Father in Heaven.

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