Our Rabbis teach that we wear costumes and disguise ourselves on Purim because nothing is as it seems.
Purim is all about THE MASQUERADE! We also wear costumes for several other very important reasons:
- because the miracle of Purim was disguised in natural events and dressing in costume alludes to this fact
- The Talmud (Megillah 12a) writes that the Jews at the time were actually pretending to serve other gods, therefore G-d pretended HE would destroy the Jewish people, and miraculously, HE did not. Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech Shapiro, the Bnei Yissaschar (vol.2 on Adar) writes this is the reason we pretend to be someone else on Purim, since the Jews as well as G-ds actions were masked by other intentions.
- to commemorate Mordechai being dressed in the King’s royal garments as his reward for saving the King’s life.
Another reason for wearing a costume on Purim is because it ties us into the Purim celebration and festivities. I love the energy of celebrations especially holy ones. Fortunately, Praise G-d, I have an extraordinary husband who goes along with my Purim playfulness and also dresses in costume, even when he doesn’t feel like it. This year my husband is dressing as a dashing black-clad masked man and I am dressing as his partner, the mysterious golden masked woman of valor and we both share the same identity…….ZORRO….I GUESS I AM ZORRAH. Anyway, what’s that all about, you might ask? See if you can figure it out on your own but if not, I will give you a clue. It has to do with all the tyrannical villains roaming our Holy Land and killing innocent Jews.
Zorro, which means fox in Spanish, was a fictional character of Spanish nobility who cunningly defended his nation from the villains. Avraham, my husband, represents the heroic Zorro and I, his beloved wife, represents the female version and am known as Zorrah. We are devoted partners who fight heroically to defend the Chosen Nation of G-d, the Jews in G-ds beloved Palace. We are cunning as foxes with keen observation skills. We blend into the environment and lead normal lives in the community. However, when tyranny arises, and heroes and heroines are needed, we step out of our ordinary lives, cloak ourselves in our camouflage and artfully and skillfully, go after the bad guys.
I find it fascinating to reflect on the fact that truly, my soul intuition chose this costume, as an inner arousal made itself known to me. I am even more stunned by my deep inner, passionate longing to be a warrior for G-d in our Biblical homeland. Even more-so, this particular character, clearly represents the current Purim story manifesting in our Holy Land. And I believe it represents a cosmic longing by most people to don their inner warrior garb, defeat the enemy and live in peace not just in Israel but throughout the world.
From the time I was a child, I loved playing dress-up and masquerading as something or someone other than whom I was. Don’t get me wrong, I liked who I was but I loved the somewhat mysterious and adventuresome idea of the game of masquerade. It intrigued me and excited me. It brought out my inquisitive and playful nature as well. From the deepest place, I believe masquerading and wearing costumes is all about inner exploration and transformation.
As an adult, I love flexing my creative muscles and imagination. I love taking on new roles and trying on new and starkly different identities that teach me about myself. My first Purim in Israel, I dressed as a wizard with a beautiful magic wand. This was a very unusual choice for me because, I wore all black and normally I dress very colorfully. A wise friend taught me that a costume reveals an inner desire or longing wanting to be revealed. I reflected on her insights and the truth of my choice of costume did reveal itself. I had met many people at the Kotel (Western Wall) praying for various difficult issues. I felt their pain and deeply desired to wave a magic wand and take away their heartache and suffering. I hadn’t realized how deeply I had been affected until I examined the hidden meaning behind my choice of costume.
The next Purim, I was deeply drawn to a beautiful butterfly costume. There was simply no other choice for me to make. I realized my inner reality was transforming and I was emerging from the pain and sadness I had felt the year before. Personal growth along with faith and trust in G-d had brought about the transformation and I embraced my beautiful butterfly with intense joy.
Purim is the most joyous festival on the Jewish calendar and is celebrated by almost every Jew at some level and in their way. Children especially love the merriment and fun. Store-keepers say it’s their favorite time of year. To some people, it may seem frivolous but hidden inside the joy and frivolity of the Purim Masquerade is the dynamic life teaching: “NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS.”
Purim Sameach to all of KLAL YISRAEL. May we strive to comprehend on the deepest level that HaShem is always communicating with us through everything that is happening in our lives, especially all the good. May gratitude spill out of our hearts and mouths constantly.
I will close with the soul stirring words of Av HaRachamim:
May the Father of compassion have mercy on the people that is borne by HIM, and may HE remember the covenant of the spiritually mighty. May HE rescue our souls from the bad times, and upbraid the evil inclination to leave those borne by HIM, graciously make us an eternal remnant and fulfill our requests in good measure, for salvation and mercy…Amen
ENJOY PURIM AND DRESS UP AND CELEBRATE WITH LOVE AND BLESSINGS, ARIELLA BRACHA
This essay is dedicated to Shimon Ben Avraham who passed away today. He was definitely a ZORRO