Here's a great tip:
Enter your email address and we'll send you our weekly magazine by email with fresh, exciting and thoughtful content that will enrich your inbox and your life, week after week. And it's free.
Oh, and don't forget to like our facebook page too!
Contact Us

The Secret of the Hamantash

The Secret of the Hamantash

 Email

Question:

Why do we eat hamantashen on Purim? I have heard that they are the same shape as Haman’s hat. But Haman was the man who wanted to wipe us out. Why would we immortalize him by eating cookies that bear his name?

Answer:

This may be a case of mistaken identity. These Purim cakes were originally called mohntashen, which means “poppy-seed pockets.” Today most hamantashen are filled with jam, but poppy seed used to be the more popular filling. It was a short linguistic jump from mohntashen to hamantashen, as people assumed there was a connection between the food eaten on Purim and the villain of the Purim story.

Jews can always find a food to tell a storyThe real reason for eating hamantashen is that they symbolize the very nature of the Purim miracle. If you read the story of Purim, you notice that it was a string of seeming coincidences that saved the Jewish people from annihilation. There were no open miracles, no seas split, no plagues, just some twists and turns of history that, when viewed as separate events, seemed quite natural. Only at the end of the story was it revealed that a miracle had occurred.

Jews can always find a food to tell a story. In this case, it is the hamantash. The outside of the hamantash is just plain dough. The true flavor is concealed inside. Beyond the very ordinary veneer is the heart of the hamantash, bursting with sweetness.

Our lives are much the same. At times it seems that we are being pushed and pulled by accidental forces. Things happen to us that seem haphazard and random; there seems to be no system in place, no direction to this cold and harsh universe. This is not true. There is a system. But it is hidden. Below the surface there is a sweet hand and a warm heart that directs the universe.

Rarely do we get to see this hand. Purim is one day when it was revealed, when a crack opened in the outer shell of nature and we glimpsed what lies beyond. Purim reminds us that all those coincidences are no coincidences, and nothing is random. We are still in the middle of our story, so it is hard to see the full picture. But in the end we will see that it’s all one big hamantash.

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
 Email
Join the Discussion
Sort By:
5 Comments
1000 characters remaining
Debra Hebb Orlando,fl March 5, 2015

Hamantash story: What a wonderful article to lift the soul who did know so much about this most blessed of all the holidays...Thanks for sharing all these hidden secrets which keep ones heart lifted when things look so bleak...standing with Israel and her G-d...sending lots of love and good wishes for more miracles to come! Reply

Tina 12308 March 12, 2014

I always find it amazing, how much it resembles a triangle... Reply

Anonymous Jersey March 8, 2014

What a terrible answer that sways you away from the actual question....and doesn't address the other origin stories...or the Hebrew name of the cookie. We get it, life is full of mysteries and miracles, but despite you telling us the "real" answer there's still three points on my cookie named after the Purim villain. And I don't, for a second, believe some baker really put so much deep thinking into his cookies Reply

Horace Goldstein sr. March 11, 2010

I have seen all kinds of speculation. Some suggest that it was common for a condemned man's ears to be cut off before hanging. Since Haman was hanged, it makes sense that we celebrate with his ears. Alternatively, when Haman entered the King's treasury, he was bent over with shame and humiliation (literally with clipped ears).

I like to think that it is just part of the Purim silliness... Reply

Rochel Reno, NV February 25, 2010

How do we explain the Hebrew name for the cookie? Oznei Haman- the ear's of Haman? Reply