Oct 2, 2014
Kapparos On Our Wallets

Op-Ed by a member of an out-of-town Anash community: Is it really a Mitzvah or obligation to line some Yid's pockets with money on the account of simple, poor, well meaning Jews?

By A member of Anash

Ever hear the expression "Es Toig Oif Kapores"? What it means exactly, I do not know. However what I could tell you is that the fact "Es Toig Oif Kapores" makes it go up in value; tremendously!

I used to think it meant that something was worthless or barely usable. Well, times changed, I guess. Now it actually indicates great profitability. If you are on a tight budget and hear these words ("Es Toig Oif Kapores") you may immediately realize that this is way over your head.

Consider this: a ready-to-eat Rotisserie Chicken in your typical Kosher Take Out cost how much? $10? $12? Let's even say $15. It's been delivered to the slaughter house, Shechted, cleaned, salted and packaged. Then it was delivered to the wholesaler who delivered it to the store. Then it was prepared and is now on display for sale to the consumer. All of these entities along the way are certainly not doing their work for free. Yet BH the good tasting Kosher L'mehadrin chicken is fetching only 10 to 15 Dollars.

Now go to Kapores. A small miserable looking live chicken which came straight from the farm and who knows if at the end will even end up in the mouth of a Yid. Yet the charge is $23!!! Multiply that by 10+ and you're looking at a good $250!

Does this make sense?! Is this right?!

I hear that in Crown Heights they are charging $5 or so per chicken. Granted the price in past years used to be a little higher and is now being subsidised by some generous people. This makes some sense. We are in the range of a reasonable price, yet enough to allow the Moisad and people involved to make some money. But Twenty Three Dollars???

My problem is with the Tmimosdike Yid who takes the Shulchan Aruch literally and wants to fulfill the Minhag of Kapores in the "correct" manner. He have a large family KA"H and who knows, his wife may be expecting. Money for Yom Tov he doesn't have. But he has no choice: a Mitzvah is a Mitzvah!

Is it really a Mitzvah or obligation to line some Yid's pockets with money on the account of simple, poor, well meaning Jews? Does this make any sense? Shouldn't Rabbonim just inform their people to take some money and give it to the poor? Does The Alter Rebbe not Pasken that it's better not to eat fish (or meat) on Yom Tov if there's price gouging?!

I'm in no way a Rav or authority to determine what's the correct thing to do. I do however believe that I poses a few grams of common sense and this just makes no sense!

Before you jump to conclusion that my thoughts "Toigen Oif Kapores", please take a few moments to think about the less fortunate and people who are going through hard times but are very sincere and innocent minded regarding their Mitzvos and "obligations".

Is it okay to do Kapores on a cooked chicken? Because it literally comes out to BOGO! (Just kidding, I know the answer).

A Chasima & Gmar Chasima Tova L'shana Toiva Umesuka.

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Opinions and Comments
That sounds like Miami
(10/2/2014 12:32:17 PM)
Let's trust in Hashem.
Spend the money on mitzvos and minhogim Hashem will surely supply.
(10/2/2014 12:52:05 PM)
why don't you just buy a live fish at some Chinese market and do kaporos on that? May not cost you much less than the chicken, but you get to eat it for Sukkos. Or use two chickens for the whole family.

I'm also "out of town", and the price of kaporos chicken here is $25 each, or $60 for the family using two birds for the whole family. But the money is essentially tzdokah that goes to the Moisad organizing the kaporos and using it for all the peulos - so I'm happy I can contribute at least a small portion towards their budget. But if you can't afford it or don't want to support that particular moisad, why not use the fish or do it on money. But despite the high price, it's definitely not lining up some individual's pockets - it supports the operations of a large moisad.

Also, consider the cost of getting the chicken and bringing the shoichtim to your place - this moisad had to dispatch a cargo van with the driver to pick up those $5 chicken - that's over $500 cost just for the delivery. They had to pay the shoichtim to come here - that's another bundle of money. Then the clean-up, organization hassle, etc. - all of it for maybe a 100 people who will pay the full price for these kaporos.

Zohl zain a kaporoh!
(10/2/2014 1:05:00 PM)
I agree 100% it makes no sense
(10/2/2014 1:05:32 PM)
Citizen Berel
This is very good.

Clearly you have taken into account all the relevant factors that contribute to price before concluding -- price gouging!!!

I mean that 15$ chicken which represents the efficiency ironed out of decades long combined enterprise of a multitude competing and an cooperating actors is clearly a very sound basis for pricing out shipping a truck load of chickens from the farm to the city along with schita and cleaning and waste management and labor and profit $$$$ and without a doubt it is impossible for this price to be anything but unfair!

(10/2/2014 1:07:23 PM)
Don't you realize that when you buy bulk it's a lot cheaper? The cost of buying, transporting, shechten/kashern, etc. 100 chickens is astronomically more per chicken than the 100,000 that a company might use on a regular basis. Simple.
(10/2/2014 1:20:48 PM)
London, England
Here too we have to pay a huge 13 pounds per chicken! and whats more it goes up every year! Makes you wonder whats it all about!
(10/2/2014 1:23:04 PM)
to number 5 and author
Yo out out many good reasons why Kappors can cost allot more money, your conclusion that it is unfair may be true for the consumer, but i still don't understand why you came to the conclusion that there is price gouging. its simple to understand as you pointed out the bigger the operation the more all the extra expenses are able to be spread out, and produce a cheaper price. that is not to say there is no profit. but that is well deserved for the time and effort put into the arrangements.
(10/2/2014 1:34:34 PM)
What is bogo
I feel out of it
Hey I'll check it up and share
"""""""Buy one get one """
(10/2/2014 1:40:47 PM)
an oped without an author
Why no name?
(10/2/2014 1:43:55 PM)
Why 10 chickens?
Where does it say that each member of the family has to have their own chicken? I grew up with our family buying one male and one female and I do the same ( an extra one for when I was pregnant) . People do stare at me and my girls huddled together with only one chicken swinging over our heads but that doesn't bother me in the slightest. It's more of a mitzva to consider and care for my husbands stress levels!
(10/2/2014 1:55:14 PM)
Pinchos Woolstone
the chicken should cost no more than $10.00.Anything above that is taking advantage.
Rabbonim in each location should bring their Psak to bear.
Many communities like CH have very reasonable price as low as $5.00 per chicken
(10/2/2014 2:31:57 PM)
And paying 150 for a glorified lemon and some branches does make sense?
However we believe that Hashem bleibt nit kein baal choiv, Hashem wants it and he is not a moocher who takes and does not give back. Do the Mitzvah with Simcha and trust for Hashem to do right by you.

Besides if it is really such a burden then use only one male and one female to cover everyone. In the Yeshiva in Kfar Chabad they used one chicken per 50 or so bochurim.
(10/2/2014 2:36:03 PM)
Two years ago I just stopped paying it and I only buy one of each for my very large KA"H family.
a) I cant afford it (I would rather extend myself to pay off my tuition bill, or invite more guests for yom tov, or give some extra tzedakah, or make my kids and wife happy with more cloths and jewelry for yomtov)
b) I think it has been taken out of its original context when everyone would buy live chickens and bring them to the shoichet once a week ... there was little or no extra coast invloved
(10/2/2014 2:44:39 PM)
agree with 14
I know the bochurim who run kapores where i live and they each make a few thousand off of us...theyve told me so themseleves!!
(10/2/2014 3:02:49 PM)
So where is this leading?
Overcharging for kaporos is not fair, I agree 100%. What I do not agree with is the end premise of this article which is essentially- "stop kaporos.. and you can give some tzedakah instead". I have lived in several different countries and never paid that price for a chicken. There are usually options where to go within a particular city- if the mitzva important to you. I would first eliminate a luxury on which I spent $100 this year than come up with a reason why kaporos is outdated.. There are plenty of hostile people who want us to stop EVERYTHING, let's not do it to ourselves.
(10/2/2014 3:19:43 PM)
Same applies to Lulav and Esrog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(10/2/2014 4:49:58 PM)
And paying $275 for a 4x4 tent with no roof DOES make sense?
(10/2/2014 5:00:23 PM)
For the lovely people who brought in the lulav and esrog example you are not comparing aaples to apples, because you have a choice not to guy the nicest esrog where the chicken is a set price that is very expensive !
(10/2/2014 5:31:22 PM)
as # 3 and 11 said --
2 alternatives:
1 use money – shoveh prutah per person in the house hold. or use fish – you can pick up a gold fish for a quarter a pop!
2 – buy just 1 gender chicken per gender group in the family. that will only total 50 smackers!

again, it’s a minhag. so chillax!
gmar tov l’kulam!
(10/2/2014 5:43:15 PM)
Simple solution
Order your own chicken for a dollar from a local farm
(10/2/2014 5:47:51 PM)
The $5 and $10 chickens are subsidized
And that's in NY, where there is enough volume to keep the price somewhat reasonable. Out of town it's just impossible to do it for less than what they're charging. If you think otherwise, why don't you do it yourself next year, and charge only $18 a chicken, drive the other guy out of business and make a fortune? I think if you try it, you will quickly see that $18 would not even cover your costs.

By the way, those roast chickens you see at the supermarket for such low prices? They're made from chicken that's just at its sell-by date. It's still good, but if it doesn't sell that day they'll have to throw it out. So they cook it and try to sell it that way. Effectively they're selling at a loss, because it's better than throwing it away and getting nothing.
(10/2/2014 6:20:19 PM)
The minhag is davka to take one chicken for each. person
And a pregnant woman takes three. Using one chicken for multiple people is very much bedieved.

What I want to know is why people think each person needs their own hoshayna. I haven't seen anywhere that one should not use a geklapte hoshayna. Usually they're still perfectly kosher, and good for five or six uses each until they become possul.
(10/2/2014 6:22:31 PM)
And $200 for a fruit. That makes sense?
(10/2/2014 7:55:18 PM)
Come to Chicago it's $30 and they expect you to tip the shochet.
(10/2/2014 9:24:24 PM)
Have you heard anyone complaining that a bugaboo stroller costs between $400-$600.
Yet, the vast majoraty own high end strollers ...
When it comes to mitzvahs , tzedakah , tuition ...
(10/2/2014 11:15:00 PM)
Author just doesn't get it.
As the organizer for kapores for a major US city, I can attest that, at least here, there is no price gouging. We have to pay for the chickens plus delivery from the farm. The guy to set up the area, the four guys who help handle the chickens, the guy to clean up the area, the shochet, the vaad mashgiach so we can get rid of the chickens after they've been kashered, the four guys who clean the chickens by hand (it's not feasible, with such a small number like 1500 birds, to buy/rent a cold water flicker-gutter), the four guys to salt the chickens, the guy to deliver the chickens to people who want them kashered.

Last year - I did this as a community service as we made NO MONEY. This year we raised the rates a bit to $18 each. We'll see what's what.

As we suggest to people who complain of the price: Use two birds per family.

Anyone want to organize Kapores in a major US City next year?

But on the other hand - when marketed properly, We have had Jews of EVERY denomination participate. It makes a great kiddush Hashem and PETA never bothers us. The local papers and TV have all covered it.
(10/2/2014 11:23:11 PM)
(10/3/2014 8:10:40 AM)
Move to Toronto!
They're only 20 dollars here!
(10/3/2014 12:22:03 PM)
a bugaboo for $400- $600???? where do they sell for that little bit of money? used? ebay? if i'm right a new bugaboo sells for $1200 -$1300
(10/5/2014 1:34:10 AM)
wt about sheitels?
wt about $2000 -$3000 sheitels?????? ever heard complains ?isn't it also a yearly expense?
(10/5/2014 1:39:48 AM)
I didn't know shaitels were a yearly expense
better let my husband know :)
(10/5/2014 7:12:24 AM)
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