Thursday, March 08, 2012

If You Eat Hamantashen, are You a Cannibal?

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 that tashen meant ears.

(Do Israelis imagine themselves as cannibals when they munch on their hamantashen?)

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 carried a triangular handbag.

Or maybe he did have 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)

Sometimes they make it so easy, by making themselves into clowns:


Sometimes we should also laugh at ourselves.... Here's an oldy-but-goody:

A rabbi approaches a guest in the Shul and says, "I want to give you an Aliyah. What is your Hebrew name?"
 The man says "Sara bat Moshe."
 The rabbi says "No I need your name."
 The man repeats "It is Sara bat Moshe."
 The rabbi asks "How can that be your name?"
 The man answers "I've been having serious financial problems so everything is in my wife's name.”


Question for your table: How many rabbis does it take to change a lightbulb?

Remember, every Haman has his hour, and his downfall.

Happy Purim, and Shabbat Shalom

PS - Here's a recipe for low-call, no-gluten, no-cane-sugar hamantaschen.

PPS - If you don't have my iphone/android app, you're missing out on today's amazing Jewish fact! But you can read it online here.

PPPS - Here's a link to my newest Purim class: Click here.

In that class, I play a video. Here's the great video....

(Hebrew version)

Here's one more cute Purim-friendly video.

No comments: