Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Yesterday, a rabbi at yeshiva brought a group of us to mea shearim to make kapparot on real live chickens and then have the chicken she'hted (slaughtered)in front of us. This is an old tradition in which before Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, we take a chicken and turn it around our heads while saying how all our sins should go to it. Then, we have it she'hted. In that way we recognize that with all the sins we did in the past years, we should probably deserve the death penalty. We ask G-d for mercy and ask him to forgive us on the holy day of yom kippur and inscribe us for a year of life, unlike that chicken. Of course, since Judaism is so careful about how animals are treated, no animal is she'hted for nothing. Rather, every chicken is prepared and given to poor people to eat before yom kippur.

This was quite an experience. The symbolism was grueling and the actions we were doing were quite strange. However, while walking back, I started analyzing the symbolism and tying it to our times.

This past year has been one of the hardest for the Jewish People since the creation of the state of Israel. This year was not only horrible because of the incredible division which was created between many Jewish brothers, but also because a lot of Jews were kicked out of their homes, in Gush Katif. Whether you are a leftist who mourns the fact that these jews HAD to be kicked out of their homes or a rightist who mourns the fact that these Jews WERE kicked out of their homes, everyone was shocked, pained and affected by this tragedy. Everyone had tears in their eyes when a Colonel in the army who came to kick out a family from their homes and was followed by cameras was surprised to see the person living there was someone who was once a soldier under his command. Everyone started crying when they saw on TV, the Colonel cry and hug his soldier, his student, his friend while trying to explain why he had to leave. Everyone was affected by this tragedy!

Yesterday, when coming back from kapparot, I understood that this year, it is the Jews of Gush Katif who took upon all the consequences of our wrongdoings. They are the ones who peayed for the lack of unity in klal israel. They were the ones who paid for the lack of love for erets israel in klal israel. These heroes, these pioneers were the ones who paid for our sins.

As the new year is starting, we should all take the resolution to make sure we will not be doing the same sins this year. This is the idea behind kapparot. After the chicken dies, we have a clean slate and promiss to try to live as tsaddikim now. This year, we have to reconnect with erets israel, we have to reconnect with am Israel and make sure Gush Katif will not fall again, make sure Chevron and Jerusalem will not fall. Make sure the Jews of Tel Aviv don't disengage from the Jewish People. Make sure the Jews from Eilat don't disengage Judaism. Make sure the Jews from Chutz Laaretz don't disengage from Erets Israel.

May this year be the year we engage ourselves in the ultimate love from Torat Israel, Am Israel and Erets Israel in order to bring about the final batch of kibbutz galuyot, the aliyah of all the Jews left in chutz laaretz (especially North America), True peace between Jews and for Jews and the building of the beit hamikdash so that next year, on Yom Kippur (the holiest day for G-d), the Cohen Gadol (the holiest person in the Jewish People) will be able to go in the kodesh hakodashim (the holiest place in erets israel) and connect these 3 pillars of Judaism which we are struggling to connect in our everlasting galut.