Esther 3:5 says, “וימלא המן חמה” Haman was filled with butter. This would presumably make his flesh basar b’chalav, but Shemos 16:35 clearly says “ובני ישראל אכלו את־המן” the Children of Israel ate Haman; how was this allowed?

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  • Not sure if this answers the question: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/5666/3
    – WAF
    Commented Feb 21, 2013 at 12:37
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    It says vayihi beyemai achashvairosh. Why were they in the sea. Must be they were fish. Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 9:23
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    No, @IshPloniViKohen, the entire story takes place inside Achashverosh's intestines; and since he wasn't Jewish, the whole problem doesn't begin. Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 9:27
  • @DonielF, “forty years” extends well past that. Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 20:46
  • @JCSalomon We cannot eat Ham with or without butter. In principle this is not a bosor b'cholov question but more likely taaruvos
    – SAH
    Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 17:43

13 Answers 13


Haman is a descendant of Amalek, of whom it says אשר קרך בדרך - he cooled you off on the way (Deut. 25:18). They are therefore a "cold" people. Haman's flesh, then, was cold, and so there was no problem of cross-contamination between the meat and the butter. (At most you'd have to remove a kelipah - but fine, Haman himself was the ultimate kelipah.)

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    But oznei haman become a problem, since ears are so thin. ☺ Commented Mar 9, 2012 at 14:48

In parashas B'ha'alosecha (B. 11), the B'nei Yisrael cried out "מִי יַאֲכִלֵנוּ בָּשָׂר"- who will feed us meat- "אֵין כֹּל--בִּלְתִּי, אֶל-הַמָּן עֵינֵינוּ"- we have nothing to look at except Haman.

If Haman was meat, why are they complaining for meat? It must be that Haman became filled with butter which replaced the meat that used to be there.

  • Or that he was basar be'chalav, which is forbidden...
    – user9643
    Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 18:59
  • @Dani per the Purim Torah Poilcy, please do not edit any PT posts outside of the season. If you need to record an important edit to be made later, you can do so here
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 14:27
  • Okay, not a problem
    – Dani
    Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 14:59

The answer is simple. It is true that Haman was filled with butter early in the megilla. But if you read on, you will find out what the end of this story was. In Esther 7:6:

והמן נבעת מלפני המלך והמלכה והמלך קם בחמתו ממשתה היין אל גנת הביתן

And Haman was terrified before the king and queen, and so the king arose with his [Haman's] butter from the feast to the garden of the palace.

Clearly, the king removed the butter from within Haman and left with it. That which “ובני ישראל אכלו את־המן” happened after this whole story and after the butter was removed from Haman, making him simply basar, but not basar b'chalav.


Chalav Zachor answer this problem. The Mechaber (SA YD87:6) say eating meat with "male" milk is "aino lokin" - ie osser drabbanan. But the Rama (ibid) says that it is nothing - ie muter. The Shach (16) explains that the mechaber is referring to animal male milk, which is osser drabbanan to eat with milk, but the Rama is referring to human male milk, which is muter.

Since haman's butter is from a male, it would be muter to eat with meat.

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    We know that Haman sent out copies of the passhegen with runners, making these messengers mail meat. If Haman was mail meat as well, this is yet another proof that shlucho shel adam k'moso.
    – YDK
    Commented Mar 9, 2012 at 14:30

Would Chalav Nochrei be a problem? Most hold that since butter can only be made from kosher animals this is not a problem (is this a proof that Haman was kosher?), some are machmir that maybe some non-kosher milk would be mixed in and hence it would sit on the top the butter. (SA YD115:3)

But in truth I think that it is cholev yisroel and it was Mordechei that caused the chemah in Haman.

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    Yossi Sirote, welcome to Judaism.SE, and well played! Given your ability to do a good job with the Purim Torah, I look forward to your real Torah contributions. Please consider registering your account, which will give you access to more of the site's features.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Mar 7, 2012 at 11:24
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    R' Yossi, welcome! I was just thinking that I recognized this question from somewhere! :) In any case, I've been thinking about an answer for you. I think, ultimately, it's not an issue. Remember, that with כחל, for example, the milk is naturally occurring. This would raise a concern of חלב ישראל, as you pointed out, because Mordechai didn't actually put the butter in Haman. But in the case of Haman, he is wasn't generating the butter either, but was just full of it!
    – Seth J
    Commented Mar 7, 2012 at 14:29

The butter only filled up Haman's torso. So, all of his internal organs are assur to eat, cook, or have any benefit from.

However, his extremities never touched the butter.

That's why we eat Haman's ears.


חמה is margarine, חמאה is butter, so there was no problem as they ate him with margarine. (source חמה דחמה)


First we must address Dinei כחל (Y"D 90).

"כחל (udder) is Asur MiDeRabanan because the Torah did not forbid meat cooked with milk from a(n already) slaughtered (animal) ... A כחל that has not been cut (see background, below) ... it is Asur to cook. If one transgressed and cooked it by itself (RaM"A: all the more so if one roasted it) it is Mutar to eat it."

So it would seem from the above that, so long as Haman was properly sliced and drained, especially if he was roasted, it is Mutar to eat him.

However, that is in reference to a Kosher animal (such as a properly slaughtered cow or sheep).

Human flesh has its own issues:

  • The RaMBa"M in Hil. MaAchaloth Asuroth (2:3) says that there is no Lav (negative commandment) against eating human flesh, but it is an Isur 'Aseh (a violation of the parameters of a positive commandment) to abstain from doing so.

  • However, according to the Darkei Moshe (Y"D 79:2) the RaAVa”D (ad loc), the RaShB"A (Kethuvoth 60a), and the RaMBa"N (VaYikra 11:3) all write that it is Mutar LeChateḥillah to eat human flesh, so long as the person is still alive (a human corpse is Asur BeHanaah, prohibited from any kind of benefit, however, see Magid Mishnah on RaMBa"M, ibid., who suggests that this is only according to RaMBa"N and only for a Yisrael).

So, now that we have established that one can eat human flesh according to the majority opinion, can we then apply the Din of כחל to this case? Unfortunately, I think probably not:

“[The laws of meat and milk are] only applicable to the meat of a Behemah Tehorah (animal that chews its cud and has split hooves) … furthermore, eating a Ḥayah or chicken cooked with milk is only Asur MiDeRabanan. However, fish and locusts that are cooked with milk are not even Asur MiDeRabanan.”

  • Since, as we said, the RaMBa”M holds that eating human flesh is only Asur because of an Isur ‘Aseh (which is derived from the fact that Vayikra 11:2-3 says, “This you shall eat” and excludes humans), it would seem that the Heter of כחל would not apply to humans filled with butter.

There is, however, one final issue that may shed some light onto this subject.

“It is Asur to cook meat with a woman’s milk because of Marith ‘Ayin (appearances of wrongdoing when one’s action is otherwise permissible).”

  • The RaM”A (ad loc) adds,

“…This law applies only to the meat of a Behemah (domesticated animal).”

He explains that since it is an Isur DeOraitha to cook Behemah with milk the Marith ‘Ayin applies, but for Isurei DeRabanan, there’s no need to impose Marith ‘Ayin.

Why is a woman’s milk only Asur to cook with meat because of Marith ‘Ayin? The answer brings us back to RaMBa”M’s opinion that human flesh is Asur because of an Isur ‘Aseh.

  • We have a concept that something which derives from something Tamei is also Tamei. However, this law only applies to something which is Asur because of a Lav. If it is Asur from an Isur ‘Aseh, such as human flesh, derivatives of that “Tamei” item are not Temeim, which means that human blood and human milk are not in any way prohibited.

  • Remember, only the RaMBa”M holds that there is an Isur ‘Aseh prohibiting human flesh. Therefore, LeKulei ‘Alma (according to everyone) it is permissible to consume human milk, and at the very least according to the majority opinion among the Rishonim it is permissible to eat human flesh.

Therefore, eating Haman is Mutar LeGamrei (entirely and without question) according to the majority opinion in the Rishonim.

{For background, see Ḥullin 109 on the subject of כחל (udder). The Mishnah says, "The כחל must be cut and the milk must be removed. If it was not cut, one does not transgress a Lav (negative commandment)."
Rav says (as explained later by the Gemara) that the Mishnah is saying that if the כחל was not cut, it is even Mutar MiDeRabanan. Rashi ("Kafi", 111b) says that the Mishnah and Rav are talking about roasting the כחל. However, for cooking, if it was not cut and pressed to remove the milk (as explained by the Gemara, 109b; see the apparent Maḥloketh R' Yehudah and R' El'azar, ad loc, though Rashi holds they're talking about different cases) then, according to Rashi, the Mishnah and Rav would hold the כחל is Asur MiDeRabanan and require 60 times the volume of the כחל (however the כחל itself would count towards the 60) to permit it to be eaten.
Rabbeinu Tam disagrees with Rashi. He says that if you don't cut it at all, even eating it cooked, BeDi'Avad is Mutar (assuming it was cooked by itself; cooking with other meat is slightly more complicated).
The RI"F says that the Mishnah is talking about cooking by itself, and if it was not cut at all it is Mutar BeDi'Avad. To roast it, nothing is required.

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    I am tempted to say that this analysis is udder nonsense... :)
    – Alex
    Commented Mar 5, 2012 at 5:45
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    @Vram, No, not quite. Ḥalav Zachar is milk that has been milked while the animal is still alive. Furthermore, I think that since, as I established, the entire issue of human flesh is separate from animal flesh, I think my analysis still addresses the relevant issues.
    – Seth J
    Commented Mar 5, 2012 at 6:47
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    @Vram, Look over there - squirrel!
    – Seth J
    Commented Mar 5, 2012 at 6:54
  • @Vram, I think I actually have an answer for you. The RaM"A is a minority opinion on the issue of Ḥalav Zachar. See the Sha"Ch there.
    – Seth J
    Commented Mar 5, 2012 at 7:02
  • @Alex, I appreciate the pun. Did you read through it all, though? Other than the premise (and the nonsense associated with it), it's all real Torah.
    – Seth J
    Commented Feb 22, 2013 at 4:03

Siman Tzadi in Yoreh de'ah discusses the din of Kechal, an udder. The udder is filled with milk when the animal is shechted, and it is presumingly Kosher. Rabbeinu Tam paskins this way, while Rashi disagrees and says that since it is filled with milk it cannot be eaten unless the milk is beaten out of the udder. This is exactly what the first answer says. Acheshverosh made sure to beat the butter out of Haman before Bnei Yisrael ate him. Alternatively, Bnei Yisrael held like Rabbeinu Tam and the butter filled Haman would be considered Kosher anyways.

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    Sam Reinsetin, welcome to Mi Yodeya and thanks for your answer. You might wish to browse our other purim-torah-in-jest or meat-and-dairy questions. I hope you stick around and enjoy the site!
    – msh210
    Commented Feb 21, 2013 at 0:38

Haman was compared to "flesh of donkeys". Therefore, since Donkeys are an impure animal, there is no Biblical prohibition of Milk and Meat.

It makes sense to say that the Rabbinic prohibition (if there even is one [see Shulchan Aruch/Bach]) didn't exist yet.

For the Halacha behind this, see Pirchei Shoshanim ad loc

  • The link seems to have gone bad. Could you replace it?
    – Eliyahu
    Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 19:05

The Mefarshim (see Malbim Bereshit 19 and more in the introduction Yalkut Yosef Basar BeHalav)say that animals which are created with Sefer Yesira are not considered Basar and since we know that Haman was created with Sefer Yesira through this Rashe Tevot: ה-הוא נ-נברא מ-מספר it didn't matter that he had butter because he was "Pareve."

  • <Whoosh> That was the sound of this answer flying over my head!
    – Seth J
    Commented Feb 15, 2013 at 3:31
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    Is "הוא נברא מספר" an abbreviation brought elsewhere or did you invent if for the purpose of this drashah? (A Google search turns up no results.)
    – b a
    Commented Feb 15, 2013 at 4:34
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    @ba I made it up. Commented Feb 15, 2013 at 5:22
  • Why did it fly over your head? Commented Feb 15, 2013 at 5:34
  • I just didn't get it. (Figure of speech.)
    – Seth J
    Commented Feb 22, 2013 at 2:17

While it is true that Haman was filled with butter, it is a mistake to assume that Haman's flesh was basar.

The Torah says that the correct beracha to make on consumption of Haman is ha'eitz (Bereishis 3:11):

המן העץ

Haman is a ha'eitz

thus indicating that the flesh of Haman is actually made up of some fruity substance. Therefore, there is no problem of consuming him with butter.


The next few words of the verse are pretty important here - it says:

ובני ישראל אכלו את המן ארבעים שנה

The Children of Israel ate Haman for forty years

Now, in order to spread out the eating of Haman over such a large period of time, they had to eat him in very small quantities, certainly less than a כזית בכדי אכילת פרס. Therefore the only issue was eating חצי שיעור, less than a halachic measure.

Even though the halacha follows the opinion of R' Yochanan that חצי שיעור אסור מן התורה (Yoma 74a), that is only because it is חזי לאצטרופי, the smaller units are fit to join together. But Haman comes from Amalek, which is the source of פירוד (separation) (R' Tzaddok HaKohen), and therefore is not חזי לאיצטרופי.

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