Why is the hamantash pastry, eaten on the holiday of Purim, named after Haman, the wicked advisor in the story of Purim? Also, why is it triangular?


That's a great question!

According to some historians, the original name for the pastry was mohntashen (“poppy pockets” in Yiddish). The three-pointed poppy-seed-filled pastry was later adopted as a Purim food and renamed hamantashen (Yiddish for “Haman pockets”).

The explanation is drawn from an account recorded in the Midrash. Ahasuerus, the king in the Purim story, was not the only one who had his sleep disturbed in the narrative. On that night, the “slumber” of our three forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was also disturbed because of the evil that was to befall the Jewish nation by the schemes of the wicked Haman. They pleaded with G‑d to spare the Jewish people from destruction. In the merit of the forefathers, Haman’s power weakened.1

The word for “weaken” in Hebrew is tash (תש). Thus, the three-cornered pastry was named Haman tash, “Haman was weakened” by the three forefathers.2

And if you're ready for an adventure, this year, instead of purchasing some, try making your own traditional hamantashen!

In addition you may want to see The Secret of the Hamantash and, in the traditional Purim humor, Three Pertinent Points of the Purim Pastry.

Have a happy Purim!

Rabbi Baruch S. Davidson
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