Thursday, March 7, 2024

The Book of Esther & the Triangle Cookie


The Book of Esther & the Triangle Cookie

A few weeks ago I posted the triangle shaped cookie recipe (click HERE to view: "Hamantaschen - Triangle Poppy Seed Cookies").  Today we are going to learn about the Old Testament history/symbolism behind this cookie.

In the Old Testament there were many feasts and festivals that God's people observed every year:
- Feast of Unleavened Bread
- Feast of Weeks
- Feast of Booths
- Festival of Harvest
- Festival of Ingathering
& "Days of Purim" (which is what we are studying today)

There are so many lessons that can be learned from this relatively small Book of the Bible.  There's drama, action, romance, horror, mystery, crime - who needs movies when you can just read the Bible! 
The Book of Esther can be condensed down to 4 main characters/people:
Esther (Queen Esther)
King Xerxes

I'll try to summarize the entire Book of Esther into one post.  We begin with queen Vashti being deposed from the throne (read Esther chapter 1).  King Xerxes then began a search for a new queen (which is where Esther comes into the picture).

Esther had a difficult childhood - she was an orphan.  Thankfully, her relative "Mordecai" raised her as his own daughter (see Scripture below):


 The custom in that day was mortifying when comparing to modern standards because the king chose his next wife from a harem of virgins (Esther being the king's choice - see Bible verses below). 

"Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti."
Esther 2:17

Just after Esther was chosen by the king, her "father" Mordecai overheard the guards planning a plot to kill the king.  Esther warned the king and these criminals were impaled on poles!!!  Serious and dangerous times.

Anyway, Haman (the evil character) was appointed to the highest position among the nobles.  Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman (see verses below):


Instead of dealing directly with Mordecai's refusal to bow down to Hamen - Hamen decides to annihilate the entire Jewish population!!!! (see Scripture passage below) (keep in mind that at this point king Xerxes did not know that his queen Esther was a Jew):


This is such an important lesson - before Esther went to the king to let him know that she was Jewish, she asked her people (friends, family, maids) to fast and pray (see Bible verses below).  She knew that when God is for her nobody can be against her (Romans 8:31).


 Esther was so clever - she decided to have a banquet for the king and invited all the noblemen (of which Haman was the leader).  It was during this banquet that Esther told the truth about who her people were and what Haman planned on doing to them.  Read Esther chapter 7 verses 1 to 10 to get the full details of the banquet.  It ended in Haman being executed on the "pole" that he built for Mordecai's demise.

"the king, said, “A pole reaching to a height of fifty cubits stands by Haman’s house. He had it set up for Mordecai, who spoke up to help the king.”
The king said, “Impale him on it!”  So they impaled Haman on the pole he had set up for Mordecai. Then the king’s fury subsided."
Esther 7:9 & 10


The situation was totally flipped!!  The evil obliteration that Haman planned for Mordecai ended up being used on him instead.  Also, the abundance that the king had entrusted with Haman became the estate of Mordecai (see verses above).

Notice the king's edict for the Jews listed in the Scripture below.  Doesn't "the right to assemble and protect themselves" sound familiar??  Almost exactly worded like the American Constitution.


The exact opposite of what Haman had desired occurred - The Jews were filled with happiness, joy, gladness & honor. 

Notice that God's saving miracle should be remembered and celebrated by all generations to come!  (see Scripture below)


What can we learn from the Book of Esther?:
1.  Trust God's Timing - God put Mordecai at the exact place and time to be able to overhear the plot against the king.  We need to ALWAYS pay attention to what is happening around us - you never know when what you hear or see might be part of God's plan and God's timing.  
2.  Do What God Asks of You - if Mordecai hadn't done the difficult thing of adopting a distant relative in need, then the Jews would have been annihilated.  If Esther hadn't cleverly set up that banquet and spoken up as she did to the king, then the Jews would have been annihilated. 
3.  Pray - all of Esther's family, friends and even maids fasted and prayed before the banquet.  Prayer is our most powerful spiritual weapon (click HERE to read - "Becoming a Christian Soldier- PRAYER")
4.  Do Not Fear - it seemed absolutely impossible that a single Jew could have made it through the plan that Haman had set up but God takes care of His people!  We have NOTHING to fear (click HERE to read a post from the "Fear Not" series)

Even these Old Testament happenings are relevant to modern day and have current day lessons to be learned.

What do these cookies have to do with Haman?
- the Yiddish meaning of "tash" is "pocket", therefore the theory is that the cookie symbolizes the pocket where Haman kept the money that he offered to pay for the Jews annihilation.
- the Hebrew meaning of "tash" is "weaken", which could symbolize the weakening of Haman and the weakening of all future enemies of the Jews.

Whichever meaning/symbolism is true doesn't matter because the Feast of Purim celebrates God's protection and abundant provision for His children.


by Angie Ouellette-Tower for photo Day_zpsb50f87c9.jpg

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