The holiday of Purim is upon us, As we parade through the street with our costumes and our masks we laugh and sing as if there were no tomorrow. Everybody is laughing and smiling despite the worries on their shoulders and the worries in the world. Purim has a beautiful way of pushing aside all that is difficult and challenging and helps us rejoice in the moment.
We have many holidays in the Jewish calendar – each special and unique in their own way. However Purim goes beyond what the eye can see. During the other holidays we are dressed beautifully, we eat meals, we go to shul and pray to G-d. But on this special holiday we, so to speak, put on a show, wear a costume and pretend to be who we are not. We change our appearance in a way that we will not be recognized, in a way that we can be something and someone that we are not. We can portray a different character. This is why Purim is such a special time of year.
We all have our bag filled with challenges and hardships and it is very hard to push them aside and pretend all is good, and that they do not exist. However, when the person puts on a costume and show, so to speak, and presents themselves as if they were someone else, for that moment they put their bag of troubles aside. They pretend they have no worries. They can dress up as a clown or a soldier. a mighty warrior, or a queen. All these costumes present one thing on the outside while on the inside we are still the same person. However, this is not completely true. When we put on a different costume and dress up as something else, for a short time we take upon ourselves those attributes. On Purim we are on stage just like Queen Esther. We can conquer all the hardships and the challenges because we are playing any roll we desire. We are going in front of the king and are asking for our hearts desire.
When we go in front of the king we cannot just go as ourselves but as what we dress up in. The castle has lots of guards who won’t just let anyone in. So we put on a mask. We are hidden. Just like the story of Purim is all hidden. G-d of course knows who we are and sees through the masks and the costumes. But many soldiers and guards are protecting the king and preventing just anyone from entering the palace and getting close to the king. Even Queen Esther went to the king, which she was forbidden to do, in disguise. She dressed up. Yes, she was a queen and she dressed up as a queen. However she was Jewish and nobody knew that, so she was dressing up. She was Jewish inside but on the outside everybody thought she was just like everyone else.
The story of Purim was written down for all generations to give us direction in how to lead our lives in the best way possible and to take an example from Queen Esther. The Almighty sees us all no matter how we are dressed. However He is always surrounded with His guards, for protection that nobody can enter unless they are righteous, holy and have permission. The masks have a smile – when we are happy we can think better thoughts. The costumes that we put on all lift our spirits and make us happy. When a person is sad they cannot come close to Hashem since Hashem is always happy and always in a good place. When we put on our masks and customs we change. Our appearance changes. we get a smile. We smile ourselves. The streets of Jerusalem were filled this week with all the children dressing up, tears filled my eyes with joy. It was such a beautiful sight, so much color, so much life, so much happiness. We live in a country where life and death are a constant part of everyone’s daily lives. The conflicts with the Arabs and surrounding enemies are so common and there is so much sorrow and grief daily. Therefore it was so beautiful to see all the happiness in the streets despite all the constant pain in this country. While we are a bit hidden we can enter into our King’s presence and ask for all we need. Queen Esther in her infinite wisdom knew that she must pass on this ability to reach out to our Master no matter what the situation. Therefore the Megillah is passed down to us and must be read by all in every generation so that we can reach the King even if we weren’t called upon. Even if the King is surrounded with guards and protected. And may all our prayers be answered.