Take Off Your Mask
This Purim, remove the four masks we wear and experience true joy.
For one day let’s pretend that we can let go of all our stress, our pain, our confusion. Let’s pretend that we can see through the illusions and turn the upside-down world right side up. For one day let’s pretend that we can have peace without struggle, laughter without mockery, wine without limits. Let’s pretend until we can’t tell the difference between black and white, between Haman and Mordechai, between who we are and who we thought we would become.
For one day let’s take off the masks that hide our faces, that keep us blocked off from our souls, that create false distance between us.
Here are four masks we wear and how to take them off on Purim:
1. Mask of Self-Containment. We don’t want to be needy. We don’t want to be dependent. And sometimes we don’t even want to connect with others because we are afraid of being hurt. So we wear masks of self-containment; we tell ourselves that we are fine on our own.
But God created us with a deep, spiritual yearning to connect to each other. We do need each other, and none of us can live happily and successfully without our families, our friends and our communities.
So send mishloach manot, packages that show that you care. Send them to people that you haven’t yet connected to or even to people that have hurt you in the past. Let’s take off our defensive masks and try putting on faces that are unafraid of connection and vulnerability.
2. Mask of Busyness. Every day we are busy – work, carpool, errands, email, phones constantly beeping, the clock ticking. We are distracted by the mask of our busyness because life is hectic and it’s hard to focus.
On Purim let’s put away our phones and schedule the errands for another day. Focus on being. On transcending the limits of our ordinary days. On getting past the mundane distractions by sitting down to a festive Purim meal with family and friends. Eat delicious food. Have deep conversations. Try on open, focused faces that can see the blessings and the beauty of the people and the abundance surrounding us.
3. Mask of Materialism. Sometimes we get mired down in the materialism of our lives. We wear masks of identifying with just our bodies, just the surfaces, just the objects in our lives. And this narrows our vision and blocks our path. We don’t need to deny ourselves the physical pleasures of this world. On Purim use every single one to get beyond the surface.
Eat chocolate, drink wine, wear a funny costume and take off the mask of materialism by recognizing that God gives us each of these pleasures to connect to Him, and to create kindness and gratitude in our lives. Recognize that we have a channel to uplift our souls by making blessings on the food we eat. Try on faces glowing with the joy of living with our souls.
4. Mask of Doubt. Sometimes life is full of so much uncertainty and so many challenges. So many parts of our lives don’t seem to make any sense. We walk around wearing masks of doubt. We say we believe in God, but we walk around seeing randomness and disconnection in our lives.
On Purim, listen to the Book of Esther. Learn it and see the depth and see how God planned every single, tiny detail. How He placed each person in the exact place in the exact time that he needed to be there. How He set up our salvation before our downfall. How He hid beneath the story line but revealed His kindness and love for us in the end. Let’s take off our masks of doubt and try on faces alive with faith and belief in the exquisite interconnectedness between every person and event in our lives.
For one day, let’s work on seeing how everything that seemed random was in fact carefully chosen for us. How something that seemed so painful at one time brought us to a place we never could have reached without it. Let’s pretend for one day that we are reading the stories of our lives out loud, and that we are not ashamed to face ourselves, to hear our secrets, to take off the masks that block us from everything that is real.