Dressing Up - The Sanctity of Purim
What is in the clothing that we wear, the hats that we place upon our heads, the
masks that we put on, that allows us to reveal things about ourselves, that otherwise
would remain hidden?
Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar is known as Yom Hakipurim,
which if translated means “the day like Purim.” Many Chasidik masters have said
that Purim in all its merrymaking and fun and in all its mysteries is the day that is even
holier than Yom Kippur.
What about Purim makes it so holy? What about getting dressed up and drunk is
Depending on what we wear, we act differently. Think about it for a moment. How
are you when you are wearing a suit? How about a fancy dress? What about when
you are wearing jeans and a t-shirt? Sweatshirt? Dress Shirt? Dress Pants? Suit
and tie? What happens when you cover your head before walking into a
synagogue, or uncover it before walking into church? What opens up for you when
you dress up or down? When you don things that make you appear more feminine?
Less Feminine?More Masculine? Or less Masculine?
The Jews were saved in the story of Purim because Esther revealed a part of herself.
She was who she was before that disclosure – nothing changed – and yet everything
did. History was made when she owned up to a side of herself and shared it with her
husband, the king.
What I know for myself is that depending on what I wear, different parts of my
personality is exposed. I stand a little straighter, or become hunched over.
I stride or walk with measured steps… I am uncertain if others sense the change
that comes through me, but I feel it.
Purim in all its costumes is a form of revelation. We don the mask and reveal parts
of us that are usually in shadows. We get drunk and speak about things we don’t
necessarily share. We embrace more of ourselves in these acts.
We may think that holy is when we dress in white and pray on Yom Kippur, but Purim
comes to teach us a different lesson altogether. It explains to us that even more holy than
the white that we try to be, is the uncovering of what is truly there. All of our shadows
are divine. When we allow ourselves to reveal those secrets and bring them out in the
open, we sanctify the God that is in all of who we are.
Purim is celebrated this year on the eve of Monday night March 9th and the day of the 10th.