Friday, March 02, 2007

The Good, the Bad and the Tasty

Dedicated to all the Jedi knights out there fighting evil and doing good.

I’ve got some good news, some more good news, some bad news, and some tasty news.

The first good news is that those kids who were in a terrible accident 18 weeks ago are all now back at home. The little boy still has a way to go, as his brain has to relearn a lot of its connections, but every day is better.

The other good news is that more people than ever before are doing Purim this year. Why is that good news? Because one of the main ways to celebrate Purim is to give generously to the poor and gifts of food to friends. Ergo, more people celebrating = more giving.

The bad news is that the world still has plenty of Haman-wanna-bes. The best known is Mr. A-Haman-nijadad, who hails from almost the exact place as the original Haman (Persia/Iran). Still building the bomb, still wants to kill the Jews.

Or how about this report in today’s news:

Hundreds of Hamas members are being smuggled across the Rafah border terminal to Egypt to attend advanced terror training camps in Syria and Iran, senior defense officials told Ynet.


The tasty news is about that favorite Purim cookie, the hamantaschen.

Did you ever eat a hamantashen?

To remind you, here’s a mouthwatering photo:

Why are they shaped like that, and what does hamantashen mean, anyhow?

When I was a kid, we used to call them “Haman’s hat”. But that’s because we didn’t spreken Yiddish. Then I went to Israel where they call them “Oznay Haman” - Haman’s ears. So I thought – erroneously – that tashen meant ears.

In fact, if you look in your Yiddish dictionary or talk to your Bubbe, you will learn that a tasch is a purse or bag.

There you have it. Hamantashen = Haman-bags.

Maybe they’re called “bags” because they are folded over with fruit inside, and “Haman” because they do look like Haman’s hat. Or maybe he had triangular ears.

At this stage of my investigation I stumbled upon hard evidence that the ear theory is correct:

So what are supposed to do – defeat our enemies by mocking them? Sounds like a Monty Python line:

“We spit on you, you silly Persian. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries. Now go away or we will taunt you a second time!” (say with French accent)

As usual, here is a YouTube clip that says it best:

Like I said, more people are doing Purim this year. Here are the stats from Israel alone:

+ Twenty-three million hamantaschen are being baked commercially.
+ About 7 million will be stuffed with chocolate.
+ This year Israelis will be able to buy coffee-hamantaschen. I don’t know if that means Turkish or espresso or what.
+ The most popular flavors are poppyseed, date, walnut and chocolate.

The time to eat them is Sunday afternoon, remembering that every Haman has his hour, and his downfall.

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Purim

Upcoming speaking schedule:
March 13 – Mill Valley (near San Francisco)
March 14 – Los Angeles

(For details, send an email.)

No comments: