Wednesday, March 16, 2022

The story of hamentaschen, the Purim cookie

Happy Purim! I'm a bit early, as the holiday doesn't begin until sundown, but I'm not going to let that stop me celebrating the first of three fun holidays in a row.* For this year's observance, I'm sharing Unpacked's The Meaning Behind Purim's Hamantaschen.

This week, we’re unpacking the story of Purim and asking why the holiday is commemorated by a three-cornered filled pastry.

But first, let’s back it up. There’s a common saying that Jewish holidays can be summed up as “They tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat.” It certainly holds true for Purim, when the evil Haman tried to convince the king of Persia to kill all his Jewish subjects -- a plan that was thwarted by the queen who, unbeknownst to the king, happened to be Jewish.

So why the hamantaschen? One tradition says it represents Haman’s ear; another, his three-cornered hat. A more recent interpretation goes below the belt and, citing the young (read: fertile) Queen Esther, claims the filled pastry pocket is none other than a uterus.

We’ll let you decide.

Whether you’re in camp hat, camp ear or even camp uterus, here’s wishing you a freilichen (happy) Purim.
As I wrote in 2015, seven years ago: "I don't celebrate Purim anywhere else but on this blog, but I'm all in favor of fun holidays and this one certainly qualifies. Happy Purim!"

*The other two are St. Patrick's Day tomorrow and Holi on Friday. Stay tuned.

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