It is an ancient Jewish custom to fulfill the mitzvah of “kapparot” on Erev Yom-Kippur as a remedy for a good and sweet year. Anytime from Rosh Hashana until early in the morning before Yom Kippur, take a live chicken, fish, or money which will then be given to charity and recite the special prayer.
What Is Kaparot?
Since the late Talmudic times, it has been a widespread Jewish custom to perform kaparot in preparation for Yom Kippur. Kaparot consists of carefully swinging a chicken over one’s head three times while reciting the prayer.
The chicken is then slaughtered according to the Jewish laws. The chicken itself is donated to a charitable cause, such as a yeshiva or orphanage, where it is eaten just as any other chicken. We ask of G‑d that if we were destined to be the recipients of harsh decrees in the new year, may they be transferred to this chicken in the merit of this mitzvah of charity.
How is it done?
Recite the following paragraph:
“Children of man who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, bound in misery and chains of iron --- He will bring them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and will sunder their bonds. Foolish sinners, afflicted because of their sinful ways and their wrongdoings; their soul loathes all food and they reach the gates of death --- they cry out to the Lord in their distress; He saves them from their afflictions. He sends forth His word and heals them; He delivers them from their graves. Let them thank the Lord for His kindness, and [proclaim] His wonders to the children of man. If there be for a man [even] one interceding angel out of a thousand [accusers], to speak of his uprightness in his behalf, then He will be gracious to him and say: Redeem him from going down to the grave; I have found expiation [for him].”
When reciting the first twelve words below, pass the chicken, fish or money over your head three times, while reciting the word "this".
This is my exchange, this is my substitute, this is my expiation. This chicken shall go to death and I shall proceed to a good, long life and peace.
Repeat this process another two times.
Want to do it now?
You can fulfill this tradition by contributing money to the Chabad Kapparot Fund! This money will be an atonement for you and your family.
In this merit may we be inscribed and sealed in the book of life.