Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  Purim
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

The Hamantash

Food for Thought

by Rabbi Yehudah Prero

There is a widespread custom that during Adar, people make and bakers bake three cornered filled cookies called Hamantashen.

One year, on the day before Purim, Rav Yaakov Berlin, the father of the famous Rabbi Naftoli Berlin (the Netziv), went to the market to purchase this special treat in honor of Purim. He went from baker to baker, but no Hamantashen were to be found. He found this situation to be quite odd, and he therefore asked one of the bakers why no one had any Hamantashen. He was informed that the year had been one of a serious drought. The price of flour skyrocketed, and bakers were only able to afford flour for the Shabbos challah. Flour for any other purpose, including Hamantashen, was not even considered because it was so expensive.

As soon as Rav Berlin heard this, he immediately called for all the city's bakers. Once they were assembled he presented them with a large sum of money. Rav Berlin told them that the money was to be used to purchase flour so that they could bake Hamantashen. Why did Rav Berlin feel so strongly about having Hamantashen available? He explained that these special cookies had for generations been consumed during Adar. Being that it was a long standing tradition to have Hamantashen, and it is forbidden to annul customs, Hamantashen must be baked.

Rav Berlin then explained how Hamantashen got their name. In Megillas Esther, we find that Achashverosh had never rewarded Mordechai for his role in saving the king from a plotted assassination. However, one night, "the sleep of the king was disturbed." On that night, Achashverosh was reminded that Mordechai had not been rewarded, and he ordered Haman to parade Mordechai around in royal fashion. This marked the beginning of the salvation of the Jews from the murderous scheme of Haman. The Yalkut Shimoni tells us that Achashverosh was not the only one who had his slumber disturbed that night. On that night, the "slumber" of our three forefathers Abraham, Yitzchok, and Yaakov was disturbed because of the evil that was to befall the Jews. They pleaded with G-d to spare the Jewish people from destruction. In the merit of the forefathers, Haman's power weakened. When combined with the prayers and repentance of the nation, this merit helped saved the people from destruction. The word for "weaken" in Hebrew is "Tash." Thus, the three cornered cookie, with each corner representing one forefather, is named "Haman tash," "Haman was weakened." The presence of this highly symbolic cookie was a long standing custom, and therefore, Rav Berlin explained, the custom must continue.

When we munch on our Hamantashen, we should make sure that we properly digest the reminder contained within!

(From Sefer Sarei HaMeah)


For questions, comments, and topic requests, please write to Rabbi Yehudah Prero.


 
Sell Chometz Online







ARTICLES ON KEDOSHIM AND THE OMER:

View Complete List

The Crossroads of Life
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5770

It Is Easier To Overcome Physical Pain Than To Suppress The Human Psyche
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

Kiddush Moments
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5772

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Faith Healer
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

"Peripheral Events" May be the Focus of Divine Providence
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5766

Sweet Revenge
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761

ArtScroll

"What Does God Say?"
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

It's None of Your Business
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5759

Separate and Pure
Shlomo Katz - 5759

> Be a Holy Nation!
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5757

Justice Must Be Carried Out
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

What's an Omer?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Too Familiar
Shlomo Katz - 5766

Jewish Character
Shlomo Katz - 5761

A Critical Difference
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5768

Reacting to Tragedy
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information