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Don’t Be a Chicken

Shayna Friedman

What could Yossi do? If his six sisters starting from Leah and ending with Sara’la found out he was afraid of holding his own chicken… Yossi tried not to think about it, but everywhere he looked were large signs proclaiming Kapparos, Live Chickens for Kapparos. Yossi shuddered.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Leah had been holding her own chicken since fifth grade. Little Bini arrived shortly before Yom Kippur that year and with Mommy in the hospital, and Tatty at her side, it was up to Leah to take the kids to kapparos. Tatty asked if she felt she could handle it. Boy, could she handle it! Leah took her role as the eldest child in the Miller family very seriously. She shepherded all the children out to the large shul down the block and stood in line like all the grownups. Leah ordered the chickens and paid for them, and when a boy not much older than her dumped a box of chickens at their feet, some of the girls shrieked. But not Leah. She marched over to the box, carefully drew out the first chicken and swung it three times over her head, “Zos chalifasi… zos kapparasi…” As soon as she was done, she turned to Dassi, “See, there’s nothing to be afraid of,” and she took another chicken and swung it around Dassi’s head. “I’ll do my own chicken,” Chava said. “I don’t need your help.” Chava was the second and as far as she was concerned, she could do whatever Leah did. Leah held the chicken for Yossi, of course, but as he was only six years old then, no one expected him to hold his own chicken. But now it was five years later, there was no excuse. Last year he’d just barely gotten away with it. He was with Tatty at Maariv and Tatty was in a rush to get home when he made that stop for kapparos. When the two zecharim, male chickens, that Tatty ordered arrived, Tatty looked at Yossi apologetically. “I know you probably want to hold your own chicken, but I really don’t have time,” and he waved the chicken over Yossi’s head. Outwardly, Yossi acted a little disappointed but inside Yossi felt like a fish that had escaped the hook. But this year, Yossi wouldn’t be that lucky. Tatty was visiting his father inEretzYisrael and would only return last minute. This year, Yossi was on his own.

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