Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

Man To Reenact Ancient Yom Kippur Ritual By Flinging Cat Off Roof

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Guri and Tuli. Which of them is the evil twin remains undetermined.

Guri and Tuli. Which of them is the evil twin remains undetermined.

Jerusalem, Israel (AP) – A Jerusalem resident Intends to launch a cat off the roof of his apartment building this Saturday to commemorate an ancient Jewish atonement rite involving goats.

Gidon Levi, 40, will partially reenact the Biblical scapegoat ritual for the Jewish Day of Atonement, which this year begins this Friday evening just before sundown.

The practice, mentioned in Leviticus and given detail in the ancient text of Jewish law called the Mishna, has the High Priest use lots to select one of two identical he-goats upon which to symbolically place all the sins of the people. The goat is subsequently sent out into the wilderness and pushed backwards over a jagged cliff, becoming dismembered on the way down. The ritual has not been performed since the Second Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in the year 70 CE.

In the absence of the Temple – its site now occupied by the Muslim shrine the Dome of the Rock – and given the impracticalities of obtaining two identical, unblemished, one-year-old male goats on short notice in an urban setting, Mr. Levi will instead fling one of his two one-year-old kittens, Guri and Tuli, off the roof of his sixth-floor walkup and down into the rocky valley along the western approach to the city.

The ritual, known as Azazel, once served as a way for the people to express their desire to distance themselves from sin and devote themselves to God, explained Levi. “One animal was sacrificed on the altar as an expression of our reaffirmed dedication to serving God, while the other, identical goat, another part of ourselves, takes our iniquities away to be banished forever, an expression of our aspiration to rid ourselves of the failings that drive a wedge between us and God.”

Levi will use kittens, specifically, both because of their easy availability – there are thousands of feral cats in his Har Nof neighborhood alone – and because they come closest to evoking the vibe that goats did in the ancient world. “The Hebrew word for ‘goat’ is the same word used for ‘demon,’ and cats are similarly associated with all things dark and evil,” he noted.

On Saturday morning Levi will select which of the two kittens to launch to a grisly death by means of a lottery drawing. He will place two pieces of wood inside a box, pieces of wood identical in every respect but the words written on them: “For the Lord” and “For Azazel,” respectively, in Hebrew text. The term Azazel refers to the high, mighty cliff from which the animal is pushed, he explained.

Levi will swiftly pull out the two blocks and immediately assign them without looking, to ensure randomness, to the kittens, one of which will be marked with a red strip of wool to identify it as the Azazel animal. He will march the kitten upstairs onto the roof, and there, between the water-heating solar panels and the neighbors’ satellite TV dish, he will push the animal off.

If the ritual goes as planned, the kitten will travel down the seven stories that account for the height of the building, plus two stories of the hill’s natural severe slope, until impact, where Levi expects the descent to continue for several dozen meters until the animal is torn limb from limb, and atonement achieved.

The Jerusalem native seemed unperturbed by the notion that his intended activity constitutes cruelty to animals, noting that only a few radical activists would object to something that reduced the number of cats in the city. “They’re a plague,” he lamented, comparing the niche feral cats occupy to that of the raccoon in North America.

“I might raise a few eyebrows with the gory way in which I do it,” he conceded, “but this is the Middle East. The brutal slaughter of other creatures is a daily ritual in Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and sometimes Lebanon, so people are basically used to this kind of thing.”


Written by Thag

September 10, 2013 at 2:23 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Do I have a comment?

    What an idiot.

    Hows that for a comment?


    September 10, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    • Yeah, made-up people can be real imbeciles.


      September 10, 2013 at 8:56 pm

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