Sunday, August 8, 2021

Trump and 1/6 protestors are "Kapparot Roosters"

"Kapportot" is an atonement ritual practiced by some Jews* where the sins of the penitent are transferred to the sacrificial victim, typically a rooster, and then the rooster is slaughtered and the carcass donated to feed the poor.

This is my exchange, this is my substitute, this is my atonement. This rooster (hen) will go to its death, while I will enter and proceed to a good long life and to peace.

This cosmic sleight-of-hand leaves the penitent free of sin as the guilt was transferred to the hither-to-for blameless rooster and then he was executed before he could return it.

I am not judging. This is certainly a better practice than strapping a suicide vest to one's self and taking fifty innocents with you to gain atonement.

I just want to point out that shifting of culpability has a long history and is not the least bit novel.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming.

*Kapportot is by no means universal in the Jewish community. Some, perhaps many, Jews consider it to be little more than superstition and hocus-pocus that is on-par with Voodoo rituals. Other Jews point to ancient texts that justify the practice and point out that not every person is a moral genius and the chickens that go into poor people's chicken soup have to come from somewhere.


  1. Speaking as one who actually practices this ritual, I'm pretty sure a conservative guy like you knows better than to rely on a liberal site like wikipedia for accurate information.

    Most of us who still perform this ritual today are conservative. Our beloved liberal brethren have largely abandoned such traditions, and tend to misunderstand and misrepresent them.

    Anyway, the ritual is not primarily about the shifting of culpability, rather it is about atonement and repentance. Giving charity is the means to demonstrate what is in one's heart.

    The Hebrew words for charity, justice, and repentance are related. Charity, when properly given, can effect repentance, so we are careful to feed the poor first, before we fast.

    These days, the ritual is often performed without a chicken, simply because most food banks and soup kitchens won't accept a chicken. Works better to donate cash to the food bank.

    Regarding Greg's comment, this ritual is an individual act of atonement. The goat in Leviticus 16 was a public act, that could only be performed by a Kohen, and only in the Temple.

    Regarding the point of your post, the events of January 6th were clearly intentionally staged as a set-up. All culpability belongs to the bad actors, none to Trump or to the patriots.

  2. Never underestimate the ability of humans to find or create scapegoats for their self-created problems. I'm not saying anything about the religious ritual here. Never heard of it before. In my experience it is more a political or cultural ritual, but applies at almost any scale.


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