This week’s Torah portion, T’tzaveh, describes the special garments worn by the priests when they fulfilled their sacred responsibilities tending to the mishkan, the desert tabernacle. Their garments were colorful, ornate, and clearly demonstrated the special role of the person wearing the garments.
The clothing we wear often reveals something about us. Our job, a particular style, a role we play publicly. A former member of our congregation, who has since moved away, was an Air Force Colonel. Most times when he came to the temple, he was wearing street clothes. I knew his rank, but most others just knew him as a guy who worked for the Air Force. However, on the few occasions that he came to the temple wearing his formal military uniform, anyone who saw him knew that he was an important and high ranking officer. Sometimes that even changed the way people interacted with him. His uniform showed that he was an important person even though beneath he was the same dad, juggling family and career, who picked up his kids at Torah school.
We may wear a uniform-literal or figurative-for work. However, beneath that uniform we are ordinary, flesh and blood, human beings. Hopefully our conduct while in “uniform” does not differ from when we are out of uniform. A uniform should show others that we hold a special role or responsibility; however, it should not give us permission to behave so differently from who we really are.
Except, of course, on Purim. That is the holiday during which we often act in ways that are very different from whom we really are. On Purim, we don’t wear work uniforms; we wear costumes. We pretend to be someone we aren’t. During our Purim celebration, we may become much less inhibited than we might usually be. Our costume may look like a uniform, and we may play that role in a fun and exaggerated way. But only for a brief time as Purim is a masquerade, a fantasy, a time to let our guard down.
In a time when there is so much that is keeping us down, Purim is a wonderful antidote that can lift us up. This month it can’t come soon enough.
While Purim falls next Wednesday night, we will celebrate tomorrow night with our special Purim-Palooza. Limited space is still available, so if you’d like to join us and you’ve just forgotten to sign up, please do so ASAP by clicking here to learn more and to reserve your spot.
Fun for adults and children throughout the afternoon and evening is guaranteed. Come in costume, let your guard down, have a great time and retreat from the insanity of our world for a night. And please, leave your uniform at home; wear a costume instead.
Rabbi Charles Briskin