After my clip-on sunglasses finally broke apart, I went to amazon.com and secured a new kind of sunglasses that fit neatly over your regular eyeglasses. Putting them on for the first time I was quite disappointed to see that I could not see all that well. The view in front of me was quite fuzzy. Shifting the sunglasses to and fro, up and down, I hoped the fuzziness would go away. Alas it did not! As I was preparing to send them back to amazon, the thought occurred to me that the front of their lenses might have a protective piece of cellophane. Sure enough that was the reason my vision was impaired.
Our holiday of Purim famous for the wearing of masks coincides with the theme of hiding one’s identity. Esther, the heroine of our tale, hid her Jewish identity until Uncle Mordecai said to her: “Do not imagine that you in the King’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. ” (Esther 4: 13) The name Esther itself, is from the Hebrew meaning “the one who hides!”
We are bid to unmask ourselves and be true to our inner identity, be it in our relationship to family, friends or our people. So often we pretend to be someone else, but as the story of Esther bids us to use a more modern saying. “You can run, but you can’t hide!” This is the time to take off the cellophane and allow ourselves to better see our own authentic selves as Jews and as human beings.
I look forward to our Purim celebration this Saturday afternoon beginning at five.
Rabbi Yossi J. Liebowitz D.D.