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All Hamentashen that I've seen have three sides and all Hamentashen have filling.

Why is that?


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Also asked seriously. –  msh210 Feb 23 '12 at 0:58
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closed as too localized by msh210 Feb 28 '13 at 18:38

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3 Answers

Unfortunately, this is nothing more than a common misconception which stems from ignorance and from a lack of proper education in certain communities. Hamentashen are not required to have 3 sides. There's a famous derasha from the spelling of the word haman: just like a מ has 3 sides, a ה has two and a half, and a ן has one and a bit, so too a hamentashen: as long as it has one side and a bit of a second, it's permissible.

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So it's a mobiustashen! –  Double AA Feb 23 '12 at 5:20
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You might object: perhaps this just teaches us the proper way to eat a hamentash - it must start out with three sides, but then it gets reduced? The answer is that we would say so if the name had been מהן, with the letters in that order. Since the ה comes first, and you can't add on an extra half a side to the hamentash after it's baked, this demonstrates that indeed these are the acceptable shapes at the time it's made. –  Alex Feb 23 '12 at 15:59
    
@SethJ It is my impression that purim torah posts should only be bumped during shaar yemot hashana only if really really necessary (a higher standard than regular edits). –  Double AA Jul 23 '12 at 19:01
    
@DoubleAA, fair enough. My bad. Apostrophes are just so tempting to correct. I do apologize. –  Seth J Jul 23 '12 at 19:12
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Why does it have three sides?

If it had four sides it would need tzitzis! (I can't take any credit for this answer: it's older than I am.)

Why is it filled?

Consider Rus 1:20–21:

אַל תִּקְרֶאנָה לִי נָעֳמִי קְרֶאןָ לִי מָרָא כִּי הֵמַר שקי לִי מְאֹד. אֲנִי מְלֵאָה הָלַכְתִּי וְרֵיקָם הֱשִׁיבַנִי ה׳

We see from there that that which might be expected to be filled but is in fact unfilled is bitter.

Hamentaschen, of course, are expected to be filled (ask anyone), so leaving them unfilled would make them bitter, and who wants to eat a bitter hamentasch?

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would need or knead? –  Shmuel Brin Feb 23 '12 at 0:37
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@ShmuelBrill, it would need tzitzis. Kneading tzitzis is forbidden based on the chashash that you may come to braid them into chalos, which is not the correct way of tying them. –  msh210 Feb 23 '12 at 0:40
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@msh210 The shulchan aruch rules that something for your head would not be chayav in tzitzit, and we all know that ‏**אזנ**י המן are for your head. –  Double AA Feb 23 '12 at 6:34
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@msh210: this is borne out by a pasuk in Koheles (4:12): והחוט המשולש לא במהרה ינתק. Al tikrei ינתק, ela יקנת - the strings on the triangular hamentash shall not be quickly braided (kneyt, in Yiddish). –  Alex Feb 23 '12 at 15:55
    
You have trouble eating your hamentaschen without wearing them? –  Monica Cellio Feb 13 '13 at 1:25
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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Hamentashen comes from the words "Haman Tish" -- the Table of Haman in Yiddish.

Therefore, since there were three people by Haman's party they needed a three sided table( both Haman and Achashveirosh considered themselves to be the most important people in Persia and wouldn't want to sit with Esther).

The Hamentash represents the Table on which they (Haman,Esther and Achashveirosh) sat and the filling represents the food which they ate. (From where the custom to give a "last meal" came).

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why wouldn't they want to sit with Esther and how does the three sided table resolve this? –  Raffy Van der Vaart Feb 11 '13 at 17:56
    
@RaffyVanderVaart they were persians and we know how much they like to sit next to women (who are jewish at that). –  Shmuel Brin Feb 24 '13 at 7:19
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