It's high time we recall how important and how powerful the homentasch is, and to praise the Lord and pass the ammunition for the blessing he has given us at this season. It is easy, of course, to forget the "lowly" homentasch, because our good neighbors, and some who are, loy oleynu, not so good, nebekh, have khapt onto it as if it were their own. We gave it to the world gladly, knowing how much good it could do--and do we get any credit for it? A nekhtige tug! Take the Egyptians, for example. Take them, takeh. Yosef hatzaddik (Joseph) explained the importance of the homentasch to Pharaoh. He pointed out that the step pyramids, such as those at Sakkara, were utterly useless, and were doomed eventually to fall into ruin, which has happened, as anyone can see.

Make a pyramid with four sides of perfectly symmetrical homentaschen, he said, and you've really got something. Nu, Pharaoh, y'makh shmoy v'zikhroy, decided to experiment with the grand homentasch design and what did he do? No sooner did he have the secret of the homentasch firmly under his belt--it should only have stuck in his craw--than he promptly forgot Joseph and turned on his people, enslaving them and forcing them to build his great four-sided homentaschen, which stand proudly to this day.

Every schoolchild learns the Pythagorean theorem. I wouldn't, kholileh, want to take away from Pythagoras or the Greeks any of the glory they used to have. But we have always believed that the ethical thing to do is to give credit where credit is due. The fact is--I'm not making this up--that Pythagoras studied at the yeshiva of Beys Hillel. Moreover, I have it on good authority that when he was a boy, his father, realizing that he was not getting such a good education from the wandering sophists, who even then were serving as private tutors, since very few of the Greek cities had public schools, decided that a good day school education was what he wanted for his son. There was no better school in those days than the local Hillel Day School. Since Mr. Pythagoras was a widower, nebekh, he sent the boy to live at the yeshiva. Pythagoras Jr. was a pretty good student, according to fragments of records that were destroyed in the great fire at the Alexandrian library, though he was often guilty of bittul toyreh, since he liked to strum on his harp and dream up theories about musical instruments. But I digress from my story. He used to take his meals at the homes of Mrs. Shapiro, Mrs. Goldberg, Mrs. Melnick, and other kindly Jewish ladies in the neighborhood. Essen teg they called it in those days. Nu, came Purim, and naturally Mrs. Shapiro gave her young guest a few homentaschen. He inquired of his rebbe the next day about this remarkable delicacy, and the rebbe took him aside (for the arcane secrets of kabboleh are not revealed in public), opened the holy sforim that deal with the homentasch and its great powers, and started the lad on his way to greatness. What is called the Pythagorean theorem is in fact nothing more than a simple formula for squeezing the greatest number of homentaschen onto a single baking pan, which every Jewish housewife had been taught by her bobbeh.

But listen! The kid made a fortune selling pamphlets about the right-angled homentasch and became one of the yeshiva's biggest supporters, serving on the board for many years. You have to have to give him credit, he really knew how to market an idea, and no one had a copyright on it anyway. Incidentally, it was Mrs. Melnick's cholent that Pythagoras ate every Shabbos that convinced him that beans have such serious side effects that he declared them non-kosher when he founded his own yeshiva years later. If you want to know why the dollar is still the strongest currency in the world, just check it out carefully. On the back side of the greenback you will find the homentasch. When Jefferson designed the great seal of the United States, believe me, he knew what he was doing. There's the four-sided homentasch that the Egyptians learned was the most powerful door to eternity; and above it, winking its eye, is the divine homentasch itself. As long as that homentasch is on the dollar, we're in good shape. By the way, the early geniuses of finance knew precisely what they were doing when they settled on Wall Street as the site of their business, locating it in Tribeca, a homentasch-shaped section of Manhattan, and therefore naturally the most powerful financial district in the world.

When our government needed a powerful, fast, invisible fighter plane, to whom did it turn? To none other than the Lubavitcher Rebbe, zikhrono livrokho, who was not only a great talmid khokhom, but also an engineer who graduated from the Sorbonne. "No problem," said the Rebbe. "You should have asked sooner." And he prepared blueprints of a fighter jet built in the shape of a homentasch. A few little adjustments here and there, and we had the Phantom Jet, which they call "delta wing" because for them, homentasch is a mouthful. Nu, kinderlakh, may we all have a joyous Purim as we spin our dreydlekh, shake our lulavs, hear the shofar, enjoy a latke or two, have a little schnapps . .

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