Friday, September 29, 2006

Are you shlugging?

I won't be spinning a poor frightened chicken over my head this year. Nor have I ever done it in the past. I find the practice primitive and not in the spirit of Judaism; both the Ramban and the Shulchan Orech agreed, calling it a violation of darchei ha'Emori, the prohibition of following the ways of idol worshippers (Vayikra 18:3).

The unreflective masses, though, are undetered, and my sense is that more and more people embrace the custom every year. Like avoiding matzoh balls on Pesach, or performing the upshurin ritual, shlugging kapores with a live chicken has become a sign of piety. If you confess to skipping the custom (or to cutting your son's hair before his third birthday) the unlettered question your frum bonafides.

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