Who doesn’t like to dress up on Purim? (Well, some of my kids actually, and they get really embarrassed when we do!). There are many explanations for why we wear costumes on Purim, and one struck me as particularly relevant this year.

Costumes lead to unity, to a sense of togetherness. Disguises mask the differences that block us, that get in our way, that lead to disagreements, pain and alienation. They allow us to focus on how we are more similar than not.

The Jewish people uniting was a crucial ingredient in the saving of the nation in the Purim story. Just as parents look more favorably upon their children when they are together in harmony, God also desires unity and looks more favorably upon His children when we express love and caring towards each other. When wearing a costume, we stop noticing who is prettier or thinner. It’s not apparent who is wealthier or more accomplished or whose children got into a better college. Our differences are smoothed over and we can focus better on what we share. We are united in our celebration of the gift of the holiday and the recognition of the salvation brought about by our Father in Heaven.

The costume doesn’t have to be fancy to achieve this goal; it just has to be. Like the alcohol we drink, our masks take us out of ourselves, out of our petty concerns and foolish resentments, out of our limited perspective on our lives and our people.

We can’t live a life behind a mask (I know! I mean not permanently) – but we can take the insight with us long after Purim recedes. In recent times, we have all been so focused on the areas where we disagree, on the issues that divide, on philosophies that drive us apart.

Let’s take advantage of the opportunity of the holiday of Purim and the costume-wearing which is definitely not just for children (despite what my own think!) to come together, to remember who we are and what we share, and most of all to remind ourselves that we are all children of the same Creator and that His greatest desire is for us to take pleasure in each other.

Just like we want to give our biological parents nachas, so too do we want to give nachas to our Heavenly Father. If it takes a costume to accomplish this, then count me in. Just not sure who or what to dress up as. Any suggestions?