Jeffrey Vallance 
  Chapelle de Poulet



Chickens swinging overheadRooster as human substituteKosher chicken slaughterChannels for atonementCocks on potsherdsSacrificial rooster

        Shohar Printhouse, Israel        
        Kapparot Ceremony, circa 1970
        Hasidic art
        42 x 30 Inches

The ancient Jewish custom of Kapparot, or swinging a chicken around the head, has been practiced since the Talmudic period (70–640 CE). During the pre-dawn hours preceding Yom Kippur, certain Jewish communities practice the atonement ritual of Kapparot by swinging live chickens over their heads in circular motions, three times, while reciting the prayer, “This is my exchange, this is my substitute, this is my atonement.” The ritual is performed with a rooster for men and a hen for women. The chicken is declared a substitute for the individual, as atonement for his or her sins. The bird is then slaughtered in accordance with kosher rules. Afterward, the chicken or value of the meat is then given to the poor as an act of charity. The function of the ritual is the expungement of sins of the man, as the chicken symbolically receives all the man’s sins (based on Isaiah 1:18). The Hebrew word geber means both “man” and “rooster,” as the rooster is the ritual substitute in place of the man. Furthermore, images of roosters placed within the Star of David have been found on potsherds dating to the 7th century B.C. in excavations near Jerusalem. Through the Kapparot ritual, chickens are channels for atonement. Similarly, the Khasi people (of northeastern India) believe in rooster sacrifice as a substitute for man, as the sacrificed cock bears the sins of the man.


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Hotel is a magazine for new approaches to fiction, non fiction & poetry & features work from established & emerging talent. Hotel provides the space for experimental reflection on literature’s status as art & cultural mediator. The magazine is bi-annual, the online archive is updated periodically.

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