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Why are 3 cornered cookies called HamanTashen?

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3 Answers 3

From Wikipedia:

The name hamantash (המן־טאַש), is commonly known as a reference to Haman, the villain of Purim, as described in the Book of Esther. The pastries are supposed to symbolize the defeated enemy of the Jewish people, and thus resemble the "ears of Haman". A more likely source of the name is a corruption of the Yiddish word מאן־טאשן (montashn) or the German word mohntaschen, both meaning poppyseed-filled pouches. Over time, this name was transformed to Hamantaschen, likely by association with Haman.

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A reason mentioned for eating hamentashen is the meaning of the word – hamentashen, since Haman wanted to kill us out and Hashem weakened him and prevented him from doing evil to us. Thus, the treat is called המן תש (Hamen became weakened). In addition eating these pastries shows our faith that the same result will befall all our antagonists.[Avraham Eliezer Hershkowitz, Otzar Kol Minhaghei Yeshrun (St. Louis, 1918), p. 131. See also R. Cohen in his book Puirm VChodesh Adar, pp. 116-117 and R. Kamile, Shar Reveun, p. 206.]

HaRav Yaakov Kamenetsky ZATZAL offers another reason for eating hamentashen on Purim. Eating is a form of destroying, as you are destroying the item being eaten. Therefore, in eating hamentashen, we are figuratively fulfilling the commandment of destroying Amalek as we are eating Hamen.[Yaakov Michoel Jacobs, Bemechitzas Rabbeinu: Hagaon Rav Yaakov Kamenetzky, zt"l (Feldheim, 2005), p. 142.]

Yom Tov Lewinsky and Professor Dov New have both suggested that the reason for eating the hamentashen is because the custom in the Middle Ages was to cut off the ears of someone who was being hung,[Yom Tov Lewinsky, Sefer Hamoadim (pp. 153-154); Dov New, Machanaim # 43. This source is also quoted by Ben Yehuda in his dictionary under the entry Aznei.] to remember this we eat pastries from which a part had been cut off. Also mentioned by both of these authors is an opinion that the filling in the pastries [this is specific to poppy seeds] is in remembrance to the 10,000 silver coins that Haman offered to contribute to Achashverosh's coffers.

http://seforim.blogspot.com/2008/03/origins-of-hamentashen-in-jewish.html

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Please summarize in your own words per lo.yodeya.com/2010/04/guidelines-referring-and-quoting.html . –  Isaac Moses Jan 31 '11 at 3:26

There is a Hebrew play written in Hebrew Yehudah Sommo (1527- 1592) from Italy. He was a friend of R. Azariah Men Hadomim and is even quoted in the Meor Eynamim (at the end of chapter 18). This comedy was written for Purim as he writes in the introduction:

הוא ספר חדש מדבר צחות אשר בדה מלבו פ' בימי בחרותו לצחק בו בימי הפורים ובשעת חדוה

In one of the scenes the following conversation take place:

יאיר: אם בדברים כאלה אכפרה פניו, כבר יש לי קושיא אחת אשר ייעפו כל תוספי התורה להתירה, כי הנה כתוב במגלת פורים "ויתלו את המן" ובפרשת בלק נכתב בפירוש "ויאכלו בני ישראל את המן". ואיך יאכלו היהודים הנשמרים מכל רע את נבלת התלוי ההוא ואל הכלב לא ישליכו אותה?

יקטן: גם זה ראיתי אני וכבר תרץ הקושיא הזאת רב בלעם בן בבי בשם אביו: כי מה שאמרה התורה "ויאכלו את המן" היא אזהרה וציווי לנו שנאכל בימי הפורים האלה מאזני המן – הן המה הרקייקם הנעשים בסולת בלולה בשמן, וזהו שאמר אחרי כן "וטעמו כצפיחית בדבש".

יאיר: יפה פירוש בן ביבי זכור לטוב!יאיר: יפה פירוש בן ביבי זכור לטוב!

http://seforim.blogspot.com/2008/03/origins-of-hamentashen-in-jewish.html

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Please summarize in your own words per lo.yodeya.com/2010/04/guidelines-referring-and-quoting.html . –  Isaac Moses Jan 31 '11 at 3:26

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