The Clever Suitor and the Dietetic Hamentaschen

You have already met the famous prankster and jester Hershele of Ostropol in some of my previous posts (https://koolkosherkitchen.wordpress.com/2016/09/28/yukh-a-one-eyed-soup, https://koolkosherkitchen.wordpress.com/2016/12/20/summer-latkes-in-december). He is not a fictional character; he actually existed and served as a Shamesh (synagogue attendant) for one of my illustrious ancestors, Rabbi Boruch of Medzhibozh who lived in the second half of 18th – beginning of 19th century. Rabbi Boruch, according to all records (above and beyond my grandmother’s stories) had a melancholy personality and was often prone to “spells of sadness.” It was one of Hershel’s responsibilities to cheer up the Rabbi. Once Rabbi Boruch suggested that it was time for Hershel to get married.

See the source image

“Right away!” – exclaimed Hershele, and immediately selected a nice girl from a wealthy family. When your Rabbi suggests, you don’t walk, you run to do it, especially a holy Rabbi like Reb Boruch, son of the famous learned daughter of the holy Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Chassidism. But the wily jester waited for Purim, when everyone gets tipsy and makes merry because we are commanded to rejoice. Having finished delivering Shalach Mones (AKA Michloach Manot, the food gifts to friends and relatives of the givers on Purim), Hershele went to propose. Dressed the way you see on this illustration, he obviously did not make a good impression on the father until he poured out the contents of his Shalach Mones bag. The wealthy man’s eyes almost popped out of his head – wow! the bag was bursting with money!

“This is how much I can make in one day,” – proudly announced Hershele.

“Yes, but this is Purim! What are you going to do for the rest of the year?”

“Not to worry, ” – said the smart youngster, – “The A-mighty will support us.”

“Come, my wife,” – called the gevir (rich man) to the mother, who was anxiously evesdropping by the door, “Mazel Tov! I give my blessing for this union!”

“But why?!” – cried the bewigged, bejewelled lady, – Just look at this nebech (poor man) in his bedraggled clothes!”

“Because he is the only one in my life who called me “The A-mighty,” – said the bride’s father, and thus started the tradition of wealthy men supporting their smart, but poor sons-in-law.

The four Mitzvos (good deeds) are specifically stated in Megillas Ester (The Scroll of Esther) read on Purim: “This day should be established as a day “of gladness and feasting and of sending portions one individual to his friend and gifts to the poor” Megillas Ester 9:19 – 22). From there we derive “the four M’s”: Mikre (reading the scroll of Esther), Mishte (the festive meal), Matonos l’Evyonim (charity, or gifts to the poor), and Mishloach Manot, or Shalach Mones in Yiddish (sending portions of food and drink to the friends). On the day of Purim, we must send at least two items of ready to eat food to at least one person, “to increase love and friendship between Jews, thereby dismissing Haman’s accusations that there is strife and dissension among Jews” (https://www.aish.com). Just like any commandment, this one is surrounded by different traditions: sending three or more items is considered more praiseworthy than the required two, sending items that require different blessings (even though sending two different kinds of fruit that require the same blessing fulfills the commandment), sending wine or at least grape juice because one is supposed to rejoice on Purim, and, of course, sending Hamentaschen as one of the food items, even though any cookies will serve the same purpose. You can read the history of Hametaschen here.

It is also considered praiseworthy to send these gifts by a third party, thus fulfilling a Mitzvah of having someone else to do a Mitzvah, and children should be entrusted with this mission since the age of about 6. The recipients must confirm or acknowledge that they received it by giving the “courier” something in return, most often money. I can’t claim that the little velvet bag, fashioned by my grandmother, hanging on a ribbon around my neck, was bursting with money like Hershele’s, but it was pretty full by the time I got home to the festive meal.

I have set out to create Hamentaschen that could be sent to and joyfully eaten by people with various dietary restrictions: vegan, vegetarian, non-dairy, sugar free, and gluten free (spelt flour is gluten free for our purposes, but please consult your physician if you have an allegy or celiac disorder). I used almond flour and just a couple of tablespoon of white spelt flour, which could easily be replaced by gluten free flour. It has dawned on me afterwards, that I could have used oat flour; perhaps next year… I also used Xylitol, but feel free to use real sugar or any dry sugar substitute of your choice. No eggs needed; simply mix all dry ingredients (that’s all three of them!), and add 2 – 3 tablespoons of water. Use any sugar free filling you like, form triangular pastries, place them upside down on a barely misted with oil baking sheet, mist them with oil as well, and don’t forget to sprinkle poppy seeds on top. This is it, Beautiful People: 18 minutes, then some cooling time, and your perfectly dietetic Hamentaschen are ready to be packed in a gift bag. My gift bags this year include mandarine oranges, which require a blessing on fruit, and little bottles of tequila, the trendy drink of our community. This year, due to Covid, the services will be outside in the yard and there will be no communal festive meal, with music and the costume pageant. The mask I will be wearing is a Covid mask, but it does have a cat on it – what did you expect? – and I will be making lots of noise playing my castanets.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup fine almound flour
  • 2 tablespoons white spelt flour or any gluten free flour
  • 3 tablespoons xylitol or any sweetener
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of water
  • Sugar free jam or preserve, preferably dark as Haman’s heart
  • Poppy seed for topping

PROCEDURE

  • Preheat stove to 350 F.
  • Mix dry ingredients.
  • Gradually add water, bring to soft dough consistency.
  • Turn dough out on floured board or surface, roll out, cut circles.
  • Place filling (jam or preserve) in the center. Form triangles to cover filling completely.
  • Place pastries on misted with oil baking sheet seam side down about 1 inch from each other, mist with oil, sprinkle with poppy seeds.
  • Bake for 18 minutes, cool on rack.

Happy Purim! Hag Purim Sameach!

63 Comments Add yours

  1. Thank you so much for all this wonderful background! Love the stories. And I love the way you made the Hamentaschen friendly to all dietary needs!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much, dear Dorothy, for a lovely comment!

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much, dear Patricia, and the same to you!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I love a good Hershel story! Purim Sameach!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, dear friend. Hug Purim Sameach!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. How i hope you’ve had a lovely Purim celebration with those you love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Mimi; the celebration has just started and will go on all day tomorrow. We are doing our best despite Covid!

      Liked by 3 people

  4. lghiggins says:

    That is a great story to go with the story of Esther. Enjoy your modified celebration.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, dear Linda: we are doing our best not to let Covid spoil the festivities!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. CarolCooks2 says:

    As always you give us a magical insight into your celebrations, dear Dolly and Hamentaschen suitable for all dietary needs…wonderful…Enjoy the Purim celebrations a much as you can with the restrictions of Covid Hugs xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment and kind wishes, dear Carol!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hershele is a rich seam

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL Thank you so much, Derrick.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Celebrations are meant to be lived and shared. Do it safely. 🌟✨💫

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Doing my best, darling!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And you do it well! 💜🍃

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you, dear Gail; you are so very kind.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. purpleslob says:

    Rabbi Boruch- what a wonderful ancestor to have! May his name be a blessing forever. Hershel story is so funny! His father in law thinking Hershel was calling him the A-Mighty!! lol I love the 4 Ms. And I love you, my special friend!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amen! It’s you who are special, my favorite purple person, because Rabbi Boruch’s name means “Blessed,” as in “Blessed be the L-rd” – “Boruch H-shem.” When we are asked “How are you?”, the customary response is not “Fine, thanks,” but “Boruch H-shem.”
      I love you right back, dear Melinda!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. purpleslob says:

        I’ll try to remember that!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Meanwhile, I am sending you and your family many blessings!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. purpleslob says:

        TY my feline friend!! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  9. purpleslob says:

    Oops! Sorry- I was supposed to say, may his memory be a blessing forever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, dear purple person – Amen!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. An interesting share and what a dowry twist! If those were money bags in your image, they seemed quite small…🤔

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, darling, those are my castanets. I dance flamenco, you know.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That was my next guess, Mexican finger instruments. I forgot the Mexican name. I did not realize you were a dancer. What a fabulous add that is to your entertaining historical stories and marvelous meals!🍂🌺💓🔔🎼

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I used to do ballroom dancing when I was young, and now flamenco is just a hobby – when the music plays, I can’t stay still. Castanets are traditional Spanish, way before the Spaniards got to what today is Mexico.

        Like

    1. Thank you so much, dear friend; I am so glad you like it.

      Like

  11. Lulu: “That Hershele sounds like quite a clever fellow!”
    Charlee: “Yeah, Dennis should have been so successful with his own get-rich-quick schemes!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We think you guys miss dear Dennis, and so do we. We were his big fans!
      Barmalei: Pyshka, you were a little fan.
      Pyshka: Squeak!

      Like

  12. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    PURR-M///ARE YOU SURE CATS DON’T GET INVOLVED? JUST TEASING!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cats always get involved! Thank you for reblogging, dear brother!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. ShiraDest says:

    Excellent story of wits and wine, D!

    Belated Chag Sameach, and
    Shavuah Tov,
    -Shira

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, darling. I grew up on family stories of Hershele.
      Big air hugs,
      D

      Liked by 1 person

  14. koolkosherkitchen,
    I love your stories, but sadly hate to cook.
    Regards and goodwill blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Rudy!
      Be well and stay safe,
      Dolly

      Like

  15. The dietary Hamentaschen are great. Much more the history, you had told in this posting. Honouring the father to get the daughter was a procedure new to me. 🙂 But money was and is always “in the game”. Thank you for another piece of history, i am enjoying very much. Best wishes for a beautiful week! Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Michael, and a great week to you as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you very much, Dolly! Please stay save, the third wave seems rolling on.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you, dear friend. I am still staying in the house, only coming out to sit in the courtyard. I work online, and my husband does grocery shopping, so I don’t have to go anywhere and be exposed to infection.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Sounds great, and save, Dolly! Well done! As long as the strains are around this pandemic is really making no fun. Now, some states inside the EU are trying to get the Russian vaccine. It seems Biden will have a lot of efforts. Best wishes, Michael

        Liked by 1 person

      4. We’ll see what happens, Michael.
        Have a great day!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. We will, Dolly! You as well, thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

      6. My pleasure, dear friend. 😻

        Like

  16. Hi dear Dolly,
    It’s been a while since I last visited your virtual home. Happy to discover you’re still creating wonderful posts. I hope this means I can assume your safe and healthy.
    Sending a big hug plus warm regards, Patty

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Patty, it is so wonderful to hear from you!
      I thank you for the compliment, and I hope to see you around the blogosphere.
      Huge air hug and many blessings to you!
      Be well and stay safe,
      Dolly

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Hi, I just found your blog and this post. It carried me back many years to when my best friend in high school would invite me to Friday night service with her. The Rabbi seemed always to have a talk on bagels. Such a warm memory…thanks for bringing it to mind. Shalom.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so glad you have found me, dear Donna, and I thank you for a lovely comment!
      I have a different “bagel memory”: when I was doing my graduate studies, my two friends and I had our “Sunday morning bagel study time.” I believe It helped us to get through the doctoral program together.

      Like

      1. Bagels will do that! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Discover and Explore says:

    You are a wonderful writer 🙏🙏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Delightful! You cover all the bases, Dolly — from religion to romance to dieting! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for a lovely comment, dear Anna!

      Liked by 1 person

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