The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, Sief 131 Siman 1, they make note of the prevailing custom to select a white chicken for use in the Kapparos ritual, based on a passuk in Sefer Yeshayah.

.וּבוֹחֲרִים בִּלְבָנִים, עַל שֵׁם שֶׁנֶּאֶמַר, אִם יִהְיוּ חֲטָאֵיכֶם כַּשָּׁנִים כַּשֶּׁלֶג יַלְבִּינוּ

We select white chickens, in keeping with that which is stated (Yeshayah 1:18), Though your errors will be like scarlet, they will become white as snow.

Then the Kitzur continues and provides a strange reason why we do not make a point to specifically search for a white chicken for Kapparos:

.אֲבָל אֵין לְחַזֵר בְּפֵרוּשׁ בִּשְׁעַת קְנִיָה אַחַר לְבָנִים וְלִקְנוֹתָם בְּיֹקֶר, כִּי זֶהוּ כְּעֵין דַּרְכֵי הָאֱמוֹרִי

However, one should not specifically search, while purchasing the kaparos, for white chickens and pay a premium for them, for this resembles the superstitious practices of idolaters.

(Translation from the Kleinman Edition Kitzur Shulchan Aruch by ArtScroll-Mesorah)

The first thing I noticed was what ArtScroll translated דרכי האמורי as "practices of idolaters" when it literally means "practices of the Amorites". But that aside, how is specifically looking for a white chicken resemble the practices of the Amorites/idolaters in general?

I'd like some light shed on this subject.

  • 1
    And the question of course is have you ever seen a chicken in the kapparos cages that wasn't white?
    – user6591
    Sep 27, 2017 at 20:17
  • In many locales, kapparos aren't taken from a cage Oct 4, 2017 at 3:45

1 Answer 1


According to the Mishnah in Avodah Zarah 1:5, white chickens are singled out as items associated with idol worship, especially when the person is looking specifically for them. Making an issue of the bird being white would therefore seem to be emulating that practice.

  • We do, however, make an issue of the bird's being white. Is this a problem?
    – SAH
    Sep 27, 2017 at 22:58
  • 1
    @SAH - Sounds like a question in and of itself.
    – ezra
    Sep 27, 2017 at 23:10
  • @ezra Alas for questions in and of themselves in a time of laziness.
    – SAH
    Sep 27, 2017 at 23:11
  • @SAH there is a time and season for everything. There is a time for questions in and of themselves, there is a time of laziness
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Dec 1, 2022 at 20:14

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