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Why Dress Up on Purim?

Published on Saturday February 20th, 2021

Purim, the festival that lasts 24 hours. WRONG! Especially for us mothers. This festival does not start on the 13th, the 14th or the 15th of Adar, it starts at the end of Purim of the previous year, when our youngest announces with a still chocolatey mouth "Mom, next year, I am dressing up as a king.'' And we, slouched on the chair between ribbons and candy papers, agree with a wry smile, because we know he still has 364 days to change his mind.

But why this craze around Purim costumes?

You have to see the shops a few weeks before Purim. They are no longer nice little stores where you can do some shopping. They are trading platforms, with the moms acting as lionesses; ready to do anything to go home with the last pair of ridiculous suspenders and matching veil to the bridal bouquet.

What a race on the morning of Purim when we are doing makeup, hairdressing and sewing, and above all, what pride when we manage to gather all our tigers, princesses, babies disguised as old people and old people disguised as babies all on the same photo.

So, that is the idea of dressing up? Pretending to be someone we are not? I refuse to believe that this magnificent festival is based on a big organized lie, hidden under masks and glitter. In fact, it is precisely the opposite.

We disguise ourselves at Purim to reveal who we really are.

Queen Esther was married to King Achashverosh for more than 5 years. During all those years, she wore magnificent royal robes and a crown, and she played her role of being queen to perfection, but no one knew who she really was. Nobody knew the true Esther, pious and valiant, who put her own life in danger to save her people. She was the most popular woman in the country, the most admired, yet she kept the mystery about her identity a secret.

Esther did not let herself be impressed by her role, she knew why she was in the palace, she knew why the king had chosen her, she knew that this was Hashem's plan for her to fulfill her mission. She remained true to herself all those years, despite the environment in which she lived, and despite the disguise she wore.

Why now?

On the Shabbat before Purim, a particular passage is read in the Torah. It is the story of Amalek. Why now? What place does this story have here? When the Bnei Yisrael came out of Egypt and were on their way to enter Eretz Yisrael, Amalek arrived and caused trouble. Amalek sowed doubt. The Bnei Yisrael were no longer sure if they wanted the land of Israel. Amalek shook their faith and diverted them from their mission. Doubt is the worst of our enemies, it blurs our objectives, it blurs our minds that cannot recognize our foundations, our principles, and our values.

Haman was a descendant of Amalek. He wanted, like his ancestor, to divert our spirit from our fight, but the end of the story is fortunately very different, thanks to the merit of Queen Esther. Despite being disguised for many years, Esther never forgot where she came from and who she was, and it is this wonderful message that we pass on to our children on Purim. "Disguise yourself, choose your role, don the costume of your choice, decide who you want to look like for the day, but remember who you are, remember where you come from, never get distracted, do not never let anyone distract you from your mission. Tonight, we will put the costumes away in the attic, we will remove our makeup, but one thing will remain, the same thing that accompanies us forever, that which defines us, our soul, our essence, our history, simply our Judaism."

Myriam H. - © Torah-Box Account

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