Kreplach aren’t Jewish wontons. The traditional dumplings are a kabbalistic food expressing the nature of Divine judgement. The white dough covering stands for Divine mercy, while the red meat filling stands for Divine justice. In Jewish mysticism, red, the color of blood, represents strict justice while white, the color of milk, represents mercy and love. Kreplach incorporate both, and on Yom Kippur, when G-d inscribes the judgement, we want the justice to be covered with mercy, like the meat of the kreplach encased in its blanket of white dough.
Chickens are used during the pre-Yom Kippur atonement ritual of kaparot, which can be performed by swinging a live chicken over one’s head and reciting a prayer that declares that the chicken is going to its death in place of the person performing the ritual (traditionally, the chicken used for the ritual is slaughtered and donated to the poor for the pre-Yom Kippur meal). The stark drama of the kaparot ritual demonstrates the fragility of our existence and inspires us toward repentance. For this reason, it’s an ancient tradition to float kreplach in chicken soup eaten at the pre-fast meal.
Yield: 32 kreplach