Why Didn’t the Chicken Get to Cross the Road?

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It’s that time of year again. That time when I can’t decide whether to stand with my holy-but-barbaric brothers and sisters, the ever-lovin’ Brooklyn Hasidim, or to stand with my holy-but-self-righteous brothers and sisters in PETA.

kaporot in Crown Heights

On one hand, kaparot — the pre-Yom Kippur ritual where we transfer our sins onto some unsuspecting other — is completely spiritual. We’re purging ourselves — but, more than that, we’re taking the bad parts from ourselves and doing some good with it. By transferring our sins to a five-dollar bill (me) or a chicken (the in-laws) and then giving it to a poor family for Sukkot dinner, we’re embodying all three stages of repentance in one: teshuvah (saying we’re sorry), tefilah (praying), and tzedakah (charity).

On the other — well, what did that poor chicken do to you?

More photos after the cut, or go here for the full gallery.

This picture, I think, is a powerful statement on Hasidic womanhood. The dishwashing gloves say “I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty, but I’m gonna be clean when I do.”

Holiness, and holy $#!*:

People stuffed into traffic, chickens stuffed into boxes. So alike it’s eerie, but only one of them gets to choose to be there.

If everyone had this perfect concentration when they prayed, all our prayers would go straight to heaven:

Posted on October 7, 2008

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