Maybe it’s because I was born two days before Purim, or maybe it’s in the genes, but whatever the reason I’ve always loved masquerading. I started out my masquerading career as a Purim clown, and last year I was the French Queen “Liora – Antoinette”.
When I was young, my mother made me beautiful costumes, and later I was able to realize my own creations. The more drama, fanfare and details, the more fun it added to the Purim atmosphere.
More often than not, I chose international costumes. While searching for the traditional clothing of a certain country and epoch, I’ve also immersed myself in that country’s traditions, customs, and let’s not forget, its delicious cuisine! On Purim, when I change my appearance, I really feel as if I’m traveling through the big, beautiful world.
I believe that disguising yourself on Purim is a great idea from another, perhaps more important perspective as well. Masquerading as someone else allows you to enter into someone else’s shoes, and this new perspective can be very enlightening.
It can be really beneficial to temporarily inhabit another individual’s persona, and perhaps to empathize more deeply with his/her problems, challenges, dreams and spiritual aspirations. Trying to enter another person’s reality in order to understand her/him better is a very Jewish concept. It allows us to share another’s happiness as well as feel the other’s struggles and pain.
If we become the other, even for a little while, we and the world will gain a great deal. It will help us to be more tolerant of the shortcomings of our neighbors, as well as bring us closer to the beauty and colorful uniqueness of their souls. Happy Purim!