What are you wearing this Purim?
Purim a holiday where we celebrate once again the deliverance of the Jewish people from an enemy that wanted to destroy us is celebrated with parties, and drinking, and most importantly costumes. However, there is no text that speaks about costumes. Nothing in the Torah, nothing in the book of Esther, nothing in the Talmud. The only thing that alludes to this custom is the fact that while other times that salvation came to the Jews it was open and connected to natural events. With Purim, the opposite is true. The miracle is hidden and disguised in natural events. Even the heroine of our story, Queen Esther alludes to this hidden nature, as her name comes from the same Hebrew root as the word for hidden. The Talmud teaches us that this is hinted at in the verse where Hashem says, “And I will hide my face.” Something we refer to as “Hester Panim.” Most people know that the book of Esther is the only place where G-d is not mentioned.
Yet, with all of this, we also know that clothing or what one wears play a prominent role in the book of Esther. From Esther wearing royal clothing, all the while hiding the fact that she was a Jew. Mordechai wearing the clothing of mourning. Haman the evil enemy seeking to destroy the Jewish people desiring to wear the clothes of the king. Even Achashverosh was said to have been wearing the clothing of the Cohen HaGadol, (the high priest) that he stole from the Temple when he sacked Jerusalem.
So, this actually brings up many questions. What is the reason we dress up? Do we dress up to hide our true nature? Do we only hide this nature on Purim, or do we wear costume and masks the entire year?
In the Hebrew language, the word for “to dress up, or “to disguise oneself” is the word לְהִתְחַפֵּשׂ
Interestingly enough, this comes from a reflexive conjugation o fלְחַפֵּשׂ the word that means “to search.”
One could argue that by putting on these costumes, as some dress like superheroes and others dress like queens and kings, that we are actually searching for our true identities. So many people are confused today. Searching for their truth. Searching for meaning. Searching for who they really are.
Purim is and and should be fun, but it should also be a reminder that we spend so much of our lives dressing up and leading lives that are in opposition to the holiness of our with souls. We put on disguises that lull us into a false sense of identity. This Purim, we should make it our business to find our true clothing, and our true selves. Recognizing the inner beauty of our holy souls. Not just individually, but together as people who call upon the one true G-d of Israel. This is the clothing of royalty, and we must remember that clothing has the power to communicate. We can either wear costumes and masks, or we can allow the true light of our holy souls to shine forth.
Chag Purim Sameach!