This year’s anti-kaporos campaign in Israel appears to have begun earlier than usual, well before Rosh Hashanah. There are Rabbis who feel that the minhag should not be done with a chicken, citing shechitah and other concerns, and among those is Rabbi Avi Zarki, the Rav of N. Tel Aviv, known in Israel as the “Rabbi of the Celebrities”, referring to the elite wealthy northern Tel Aviv population. He feels that the minhag with chickens is צער בעלי חיים and therefore, it should be avoided.
Kikar Shabbat interviewed the rabbi, who is quoted as saying that “today, the minhag is mamosh avoda zara”. He adds that he basis his opinion on rulings of gedolei yisrael, citing the Rashba, Ramban, and the Beis Yosef, who wrote מה שנהגו ליקח תרנגול לזכר ותרנגולת לנקבה יש בזה משום דרכי האמורי
Rav Zarki quotes the Mechaber, as well as the others in support of his opinion. “People believe they can commit aveiros during the year and on erev Yom Kippur take a chicken and swing it around over their heads and they are done. This is nonsense”.
“In accordance with Halacha, it is preferable to give money to fulfill the mitzvah. There is a Halachic problem with the shechitah due to the pressure, the time element, and the lack of time to properly inspect the knife. Perhaps a damaged knife is used for the shechitah. In addition, many of the chickens die before the shechitah.
“There is also the בצער בעלי חיים issue, and for this there is no mechila. The birds are pushed and shoved into the cages and they are too crowded. They are literally stuffed in, often without any food or water”.
He concludes that based on his information; there has been a steady decline in the minhag over recent years.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)