Tuesday, October 3

Yesterday

Erev Yom Kippur, doing Kapparos with ever civilised money, I was shlepped down memory lane….
Shlep,
Shlep,
Down,
Down
Down
(Cue smoke machines for flashback)

There I was, all of sixteen years of age.
Naïve, fabulous, but most of all… vain.
I would wake up at the crack of dawn to blow dry my naturally curly very long hair into the perfect coif that would make Dynasty cast members cry with envy. It didn’t take much, just a hair dryer and a half a can of gravity defying hairspray (well, it was the eighties!).

So, there I was, my hairspray standing at attention at my side and my hairdryer poised in my left hand to begin my daily ritual. All was at it should it be until… I turned the hairdryer on. Suddenly, it started to make noises as if it was being strangulated and then it started to sputter and cough. The last thing I saw as it burst into flames were feathers, (I kid you not) singed feathers, spewing forth from my now toasted hairdryer. Then I knew, I knew who the culprit was as surely as my shoulder pads were six inches high.
I screamed, “MAAAAAAAA” and my mother came a running, a guilty look on her face.

You see, my Hungarian mother had acclimated herself to the American way of life, except there were some things she missed from the old country, especially when it came to the ritual of doing Kaparos. My mother, felt that it wasn’t the ‘real deal’ and therefore skipped over to New Square every year to buy herself a live chicken just clucking to give away its life for my mothers sins.

According to Mom, that year they gave her a particularly dirty chicken that my mother felt was just too dirty to shlug Kaparos with. So, and get this, she put the funky chicken in the sink and washed it using my favourite shampoo and then she used my hairdryer to blow dry it.

She tried to explain that the chicken looked amazing and all fluffy and she didn’t realise that the feathers had got stuck in my hairdryer but I was too busy moaning, ”Nooooooooooooooooooo”. So that morning I went off to school looking more vague than Vogue, but my mother shlugged Kaparos with a gorgeous looking chicken.

So every year, my mother goes into Yom Kippur having swung a chicken over her head like a voodoo high priestess.

And the men in my shul, in their Kittels and canvas sneakers with their collective halitosis that could fell a forest, were like angels yesterday and all was as it should be.

52 Comments:

At 10:54 AM, Blogger kishmech said...

i'm telling you a best selling book is there, i can see jollywood queuing up to buy the film rights. Only ever used money, that means we can do it right up to erev yomtov without leaving the house. yay.

 
At 11:01 AM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Kasamba: Totally Awesome Post! Once again, you have proven you are the funniest blogger around :)

Gmar Tov!

(And to shamlessly borrow a line from the Yom Kippur liturgy, "We're Not Worthy")

 
At 11:03 AM, Blogger the only way i know said...

(high pitched scream!) - HAAAAA HAAAA HAAAA!
glad the chicken looked more vogue than vague...
Did your mom tell the chicken.......'L'oreal..because you're worth it'!
hee hee!!
having a great laugh..

 
At 11:06 AM, Blogger ~ Sarah ~ said...

*chuckle*
well, she had to prepare and groom the chicken for an important mitzvah! can't have it looking dirty ;)
so funny though.

gmar tov :)

 
At 11:57 AM, Blogger the only way i know said...

i agree with kish -jollywood - here she comes!

 
At 1:18 PM, Blogger Pragmatician said...

I can imagine your frustraion then, but why on earth is Shloging happening in the home an not at the slaughterhouse?

 
At 1:27 PM, Blogger kasamba said...

Kish:
I love it- jollywood!!!!
I can imagine kitchy theme songs like 'Hava nagila' every time a devout jew comes on the screen!

Jameel;
This from YOU: oh blogger above all bloggers!!!
You'll have to excuse me, I'm farklempt. Talk amongst yourselves...
;-)

Towik:
And apparently Henny Penny was worth it!!!

Sarah:
Talk about hidur mitzvah! I have to say that I was truamatised after that incident and bought two new hairdryers in case it would happen again!

Prag:
You are so pragmatic! Actually, they let you take the chicken home and bring it back the next day for the 'big chop'. My mom used to keep it in a cardboard box in the garage overnight. They do that here in London as well.

 
At 3:30 PM, Blogger cruisin-mom said...

Please explain shlugging Kaparos for your "not so religious" friends. One of my biggest fears in life is the blowdryer breaking down in mid-blow. (Yes, I'm a very deep person)
Hysterical story as always.

 
At 3:31 PM, Blogger tafka PP said...

So let me get this straight:

Your mother bought a chicken. She washed the chicken with expensive shampoo. Then she BLOWDRIED it (with your hairdryer) because it was TOO DIRTY for her to do Kaporos with.

OK

But then she did Kaporos with it- ie sent it off to be slaughtered?!

Hmmm. Everything is beginning to slot into place now ;-)

Glad you survived the Halitosis.

 
At 3:39 PM, Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

You have a way of making everything funny thanks for the terrific post.

 
At 4:30 PM, Blogger the only way i know said...

Cruisin -
Always figured you for the deep type - lol
(i did really - lol - still do :)!)

 
At 6:23 PM, Blogger kishmech said...

Pure jewywood. Why is hava nagila the only song jews sing . ....according to hollywood anyway.

 
At 6:40 PM, Blogger FrumWithQuestions said...

thats pretty funny

 
At 9:43 PM, Blogger Mia said...

I can´t stop laughing!!! and telling the whole family your story :D.

I can totally relate to your annoyance at the time, having curls myself, luckily these days we have irons which straighten our hair :D

You are the funniest blogger of all times. So jollywood and a bestseller!

 
At 11:49 PM, Blogger ~ Sarah ~ said...

thank you for reminding me of the phrase 'hidur mitzvah'.... i was frantically trying to remember it as I wrote my previous comment but due to the late hour and long day the word escaped me!

 
At 6:38 AM, Blogger Moiy-rah said...

that chicken should enter the beauty contest with mine.

mine is prettier.

-moiy

 
At 7:38 AM, Blogger Chasidishe Shaigitz said...

LOL Hilarious!

Now imagine if she had dome kaporos with money! You’d have bills flying out at ya :)

 
At 3:26 PM, Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

lol..what funny memories....
if only the chicken could blog..

 
At 3:35 PM, Blogger Limey2001 said...

in other news arsenal beat the two worst teams in england, good for them a loss would have devestated Casa Kasamba

 
At 4:03 PM, Blogger kasamba said...

Crusin:
Sure!!
The term kaparos comes from the same word as Kippur: atonement. On the eve of Yom Kippur, men take roosters and women take hens. They place the birds in their hands and whirl them around above the head, in yiddish its called 'shlugging' saying : "This is my substitute , this is my exchange, this is my atonement. This fowl will go to death, and I will enter upon a good and long life."

The chicken is then slaughtered and then given to the poor. Most people now, do Kaparos with money and donate the money to the poor.This ritual is derived from the ancient Temple practice that originated the idea of the "scapegoat." The sins of the people Israel were placed on a goat that was sent to wander in the wilderness (though some say the goat was pushed off a cliff to its death). Like tashlich, the ritual of kaparos was a symbolic shedding of sins.

I hope this explained it for you- I'd be happy to elucidate if you want!

 
At 4:09 PM, Blogger kasamba said...

Tafka:
Basically that sums it up!

Socailworker:
thank YOU for visiting!

Kish:
That song makes me itch!

Frumwithquestions:
Why, thank you!

Mia:
Now THAT'S what I call a compliment!!!Thanks!!!!

Sarah:
Any time!

Moiy-rah:
Let's take this out back!

Chassidishe Shaigetz:
That would give new meaning to 'money laundering'!

David:
LOL! If only!!!

Limey:
Yup, we are happy in our casa!

 
At 8:16 PM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

BTW - I read this on another blog, that this Rav wanted to do Kapparot, but didn't want to use a chicken since it was "inhumane" to torture a chicken by swinging it around his head (or blowdrying it first)...and he wanted to use money instead. So what did he do?

He puts the money for tzedakka in a RUBBER CHICKEN and then swings it around his head!

If you can't add saintly comedy to Yom Kippur...what's the point?

:-)

 
At 9:35 PM, Blogger kasamba said...

Jam;
OMG!!!
That is such a BRILLIANT idea!

B"N I'm doing that next year!
(And then we'll all throw custard pies at each other)

 
At 2:50 AM, Blogger FrumGirl said...

That is hysterical! I have naturally curly hair like you too but no way was I gonna slave over it. Wow, you had tolernace levels!

 
At 2:51 AM, Blogger workingema said...

We still do it your mom's way. Hubby brought home two chickens in a box, and after all the petting and squealing, we went to the porch and 'shlugged' them. But there is no way they're going into my sink while alive!!

I have a similar story. When we were first married, my hubby wanted to surprise me, and knowing I love animals, he bought me a duckling!! I was so excited and got to really love it (for the three weeks we had it)! We tried to teach it to swim in water, as ducks are wont to, but instead we nearly drowned it, poor thing. Luckily, my husband, and EMT, performed CPR and little Fuzzy was saved!!

And no, we didn't end up eating him.
Keep the laughs coming!!:o)

 
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At 5:49 PM, Blogger Amishav said...

Kasamba- as long as mother doesn't put a bone through her nose I think you are safe from any voodoo influences! Take care.

 
At 12:29 PM, Blogger anonym00kie said...

now ill never rid of the visual - kasamba in her big hair and rhine stone studded, shoulder padded, 80's suit and her fluffy feathered chicken!

 
At 2:55 PM, Blogger cruisin-mom said...

Thanks kasamba!

 
At 1:46 AM, Blogger BagelUndertheCouch said...

HILARIOUS!!!!!!!!

 
At 9:57 PM, Blogger kasamba said...

Frumgirl:
One does what one must do!!!

WorkingIma:
you are the cutest!!!

Amishav:
LOL! Too true!

Anoymookie:
You should just see photos! (shudder!)

Crusin:
Pleasure!

Bagelundercouch:
Why, thanks!!!

 
At 8:32 PM, Blogger SJ said...

This was probably the funniest post I have ever read. Your blog is my favourite new discovery. Plus it's a brilliant way to make sure that I don't lose my English side!

 
At 11:51 PM, Blogger kasamba said...

SJ:
Ah, so you have an English side!
Thank you for the lovely compliment!
A Gitten Moyed!

 
At 4:10 AM, Blogger reluctant rebel said...

That is really hillarious! I just hope your mother did a really good job with the shapoo so that you didn't smell like a chicken too;) Yikes, I can't even imagine bathing a chicken!!!

 
At 6:14 PM, Blogger kasamba said...

reluctant Rebel:
LOL!
Actually, I recall throwing the whole bottle out!
My mother is unique- B"H!

 
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