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Why do we eat Hamantaschen for Purim?

Updated: Apr 12, 2021

Have you ever wondered why “Haman's ear” (Hamantaschen) אוזני המן were chosen for the task of inspiring the Purim holiday dish?

You must have noticed that the Hamantaschen - Haman’s ear of Purim doesn’t look like an ear nor completely in the shape of one, and why was the ear chosen to symbolize the triangular pastry?

The Haman from the Megillah, the evil Haman, the oppressor of the Jews, He was a vile criminal, an evil villain who incited King Ahasuerus against the Jews and sought to kill all the Jews in the 127 countries that were ruled by the Persian empire .

In ancient times it was common practice to cut off the ears of criminals, according to some commentaries.

Therefore, it is written in the Megillah "And Haman's face was covered" (Esther 7: 8), and in the Midrash it is said that "Haman entered the house of the king disgraced bent over, with his head covered, his ears plucked and his eyes dark" (Megillah 16).

Another explanation for this might have something to do with "Purim Vincent" in Frankfurt, another unfamiliar Haman.

It is said that in 1615 the cakes were baked by Vincenz Fettmilch, who led a pogrom against the Jews of Frankfurt and led to their expulsion from the city. For half a year the Jews wandered outside their city, until he was banned, and the Jews were called back to the city. Fettmilch did not last long - he was sentenced to death and executed in the town square. Some say that before he was beheaded - they cut off his ears, and I’ll let your imagination complete the rest.

It is possible, therefore, that the triangular cookies we eat on Purim are called Haman's ears, not because of Haman from the Book of Esther, but because of "Purim Vincent” who was executed on February 28, 1616. the German Haman, the oppressor-baker who arose against the Jews in Frankfurt on the River Maine.

One more and surprising explanation pertains to the triangular officers' hats, such as the one worn by Napoleon, and to the possibility that a hat similar to that was worn by the senior adviser to the king Ahasuerus. This hypothesis was followed by waves of baking triangular cookies that came to eradicate evil and let us bite into it from three ends.

The last explanation I’d like to offer - is the story of "Haman Wallets". Haman Purses" or "Haman Pockets" they are triangular German pastries filled with poppy seeds. The "Tash" which is a pocket and poppy in German and Yiddish "Mohn" - that sounded quite similar to Haman, which made for a perfect combination.

There are many different variations for making Hamantaschen.

They differ from country to country and from community to community, and behind each recipe of course, there is a story of its own.

No matter what the filling of your Haman ear, Hamantaschen and no matter what the composition of the dough, it is important that the pastry is kneaded, filled and baked so you too can fight evil and destroy it with a cookie.


חג פורים שמח

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