Do not use your mask to hide...

Purim is a holiday of costumes and masks. Masks are an interesting item. They can help us express ourselves or hide who we are from the world. Either way they are a conduit for communicating with the outside world. Masks can allow us to be forgotten or can leave an indelible mark on those who view them. We wear masks all the time. Not just physical ones but spiritual ones as well. What is it your "masks" are communicating to the outside world? Are you hiding or leaving your mark?

The Rabbis of the Mishnah (written between 100 B.C.E. and 200 C.E.) give a stern warning "Do not make yourself known to the authorities" (Pirkei Avot chapter 2). The story of Purim I believe sends a much different message. While the Rabbis at the time of the Romans were all very weary of any retaliation that might result in the standing up for what one believes or in being contrary to the powers that be, the story of Purim sends a much different message. In the story Esther uses her mask to save her people from certain destructions. Her actions say, "do not use your mask to hide. Use your mask to stand up and let your voice be heard. Perhaps you risk death, but if you do not stand up for what you believe in then being alive is not worth very much."

This Purim I encourage all to take the message of Purim to heart and not to hide your feelings and thoughts for fear of retribution. Rather use your "mask" to express who you truly are inside. Allow your inner light to shine. When we hide ourselves from the world we risk the destruction of ourselves, our people and the world. Purim tells us to wear masks, but it also says those masks should leave a mark, for the good of others and for ourselves.

Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Micah