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What is the significance of the Hamantash?

by Rabbi Yossi Marcus

  

Library » Holidays » Purim » The Customs | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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I don't know who invented the Hamantash, but there is deep significance to this pastry.

Actually, the Hamantash is one of two foods customarily consumed on Purim The other food is kreplach -- chicken or meat-filled pasta dough shaped into a triangle.

The idea of a food whose contents are hidden fits right in to the Purim story, where the Jews' salvation came about without clear miracles. G-d was operating in the background, in concealment—like the jelly hidden in the belly of the Hamantash —and saved the Jews by creating a series of events that could have been interpreted as coincidence.

About the triangles: Some say they are reminiscent of Haman’s hat, which was triangular.

You can get hamantashen at any Kosher bakery. Wanna make your own? Try virtualpurim.org for hamantashen and kreplach recipes. Some also have the custom of eating legumes (peas, beans etc.) on Purim, to commemorate the vegetarian diet that Esther kept in the non-kosher court of Ahasuerus.1

See also Why is G-d’s name not mentioned even once in the Megillah?

Footnotes

  • 1. See Talmud, Tractate Megillah 13a

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Kosher
Literally means "fit." Commonly used to describe foods which are permitted by Jewish dietary laws, but is also used to describe religious articles (such as a Torah scroll or Sukkah) which meet the requirements of Jewish law.
Purim
A one-day holiday celebrated in late winter commemorating the miraculous deliverance of the Jewish people from a decree of annihilation issued by Persian King Ahasuerus in the year 356 BCE.
Haman
Descendant of anti-Semitic tribe of Amalek and prime minister of the Persian Empire in the 5th century b.c.e. Schemed to annihilate all the Jews, and the holiday of Purim was established when the plot was foiled.
Esther
1. Jewish wife of Persian King Ahasuerus in the 4th century BCE. Foiled the plot of Haman, the prime minister, to exterminate all the Jews. The holiday of Purim commemorates this miraculous salvation. 2. One of the 24 Books of the Bible, which chronicles the abovementioned story.
Ahasuerus
King of the Persian Empire in the 4th century BCE. Husband of Esther, heroine of the Purim story.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.