How often do we reveal our "alter-ego" publicly? Jewish tradition provides a safe space for doing precisely that once a year - on Purim, the topsy-turvy holiday in which nothing is quite what it appears to be, when silliness and irreverence are commanded, and our usual attempts at being "proper" and "mature" are turned on their heads. [Speaking of which: The Dean of my rabbinical school has a custom of doing headstands daily, in public, during the weeks leading up to Purim!] So don't be fooled into thinking that Purim is a holiday for children - it is much more than merely an opportunity for kids to dress in costumes and make noise in the sanctuary. (And by the way, if you read the text carefully, you'll discover that the Book of Esther is definitely R-rated.)
The holiday of Purim is about hiding and revealing, on many levels. For example:
* Esther hides her Jewish identity from the king until she chooses to reveal it in order to save herself and her people.
* Our sages teach that God is hiding in the Purim story. (Did you know that there is no mention of God in the entire megillah?!) The very name Esther in Hebrew can be read as "I will be hidden," which the ancient rabbis saw as a hint of God's presence "behind the scenes."
* We dress in costumes and masks that both hide our identity and at times reveal some hidden aspect of ourselves.
It is said that "when the month of Adar arrives, joy increases." This is primarily because of the celebration of Purim, which occurs on the 14th of Adar; but there are other reasons to be joyous this month - please invite a friend and plan to join us for the various celebrations happening in the coming weeks.