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

Why is that?

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3 Answers 3


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.

  • 4
    So it's a möbiustashen!
    – Double AA
    Feb 23, 2012 at 5:20
  • 6
    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, 2012 at 15:59
  • This halacha is necessary to be taught, otherwise only the first bite would be considered to fulfill the mitzva. And while the ideal case might be that everyone should have his own hamentash, once we know that a hamentash with a bite taken out of it is still kosher, we can infer that a hamentash can be shared between multiple people and each of them will be yotze. Feb 19, 2015 at 14:53

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?

  • 2
    would need or knead? Feb 23, 2012 at 0:37
  • 5
    @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, 2012 at 0:40
  • 1
    @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, 2012 at 6:34
  • 1
    @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, 2012 at 15:55
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    You have trouble eating your hamentaschen without wearing them? Feb 13, 2013 at 1:25

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).

What food do royalty eat?


But there's an argument over what kind of Caviar did they eat, red caviar or black caviar.

So that's why there are two kinds of filling - poppy (representing black caviar) and jelly (representing red caviar).

  • why wouldn't they want to sit with Esther and how does the three sided table resolve this? Feb 11, 2013 at 17:56
  • So. ... why don't we get caviar hamantaschen? :P
    – MTL
    Mar 5, 2017 at 20:25

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