Behind the Mask
by Leah Larson
One of the highlights of Purim is dressing up. We love to get to be someone new for a day, try out a different role, step into someone else's shoes. Whether it's Queen Esther, a cowgirl, doctor, rabbi, or baby, if it's a really good costume sometimes it's even hard to recognize who's behind the costume! There are many reasons we dress up on Purim, including the idea of concealment and hidden miracles. But what lesson is there in it for us?
Really, we wear masks all year long. We decide "I'm someone with curly hair", "she's someone short", "she's someone snobby". We focus on the outer layer of everyone; just what our eyes can see. When we make our outside our focus, it's easy to look down on others. "I'm prettier than her", "I'm smarter than her", "I'm richer than her"... We get so caught up with our 'costumes' that we don't even realize who's really inside the costume. Our soul. The essence of who we are. Although we might HAVE curly hair, freckles, or a good memory, what we ARE is a Jewish soul. And all Jewish souls are really one.
When we look past the outside and see the true essence of who a person is, we can love them and be truly united with them. May our ahavas yisroel (love of a fellow Jew) and unity bring us to Moshiach when holiness won't be disguised, but will be revealed for all to see.
Have a very happy Purim!